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What we’re about

Incorporated in 1964, the Florida Trail Association (FTA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit volunteer organization that builds, maintains, protects, and promotes the 1,400 mile Florida Trail, one of only eight National Scenic Trails in the United States, in partnership with the USDA Forest Service. Our volunteers also build and maintain other trails on public lands, known as the Florida Trail System.

This Meetup site contains events and activities for two of 18 local FTA chapters: the Central Florida chapter and the Highlanders chapter. Together, we provide educational opportunities for people to learn to appreciate and to preserve the natural beauty of Florida, as well as recreational opportunities for hiking, biking, camping, and kayaking.

Chartered in 1981, the Central Florida chapter is one of FTA’s largest chapters with more than 500 members. Our active members lead & participate in many activities, including the popular TGIF “after work” hikes, Historical Hikes in the Central Florida area, the Winter Wednesday Hike Series, and a variety of other hiking, biking, paddling, camping & trail maintenance activities. Each Thanksgiving we have a group camping event at a local state park or forest and each New Year’s we “retreat” to the Ocala National Forest for a fun-filled campout & celebration.

The Central Florida chapter maintains the Florida National Scenic Trail through Seminole Ranch WMA, C.H. Bronson State Forest, Chuluota Wilderness, Mills Creek Woodlands, Little Big Econ State Forest, Spring Hammock Preserve, Lower Wekiva River Reserve State Park & Seminole State Forest. Loop & side trails maintained include the Orlando Wetlands Trails, Wekiwa Springs State Park Trails, the Lower Wekiva Loop Trail in Seminole State Forest, the River Trail in C.H. Bronson State Forest, the Culpepper Spur Trail & the Kolokee Loop Trail in Little Big Econ State Forest.

The Highlanders chapter offers educational seminars and recreational events throughout the region. We participate in the January Chili Party; Big O Hike; Winter Wednesday Hikes; Black Bear Festival in Umatilla, our Gateway Community; and July and August Picnics. Many hiking and kayaking events are also planned by members and published in the Highlanders Newsletter.

The Highlanders chapter maintains 56 miles of the Florida National Scenic Trail in the Ocala South Section in the National Forest, as well as the Cassia Section including the north part of Seminole State Forest, Royal Trails segment, and LaNoChe Boy Scout Camp segment. We are also responsible for the Croom Hiking Trail running from Hog Island to River Junction in Withlacoochee State Forest in south Sumter County. We also maintain one loop trail, the Daubenmire Trail in Flat Island Preserve, in Leesburg.

We depend on your paid membership in the FTA and your generous donations for trail maintenance funds click HERE to join

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