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
Upcoming events (3)See all
- Charles H Bronson SF 4way stile @ Joshua Creek TH Trail Maintenance3468 Phillips Rd, Christmas, FL
Join the FTA Central Florida Chapter for a work day in Charles H Bronson SF 4way stile @ Joshua Creek TH
What to expect: We will use a combination of power equipment and hand tools to bring the trail back up to standard. We will: mow, lop (trim) branches, paint new blazes and at times, inspect or repair infrastructure.
We will meet at the trailhead at 9:00am for a safety session. Volunteers are then divided into crews. When appropriate, crews may need to carpool and drive one vehicle to a starting location. New volunteers will be provided an orientation on the role they are assigned to and all are encouraged to try new tasks!
What to bring: For all projects you will need to bring a day pack, sturdy shoes, and appropriate clothing. Long pants are required to do trail work and long-sleeved shirts are recommended. Sunscreen and bug spray are also advised. You will need to provide your own lunch and water.
Directions: We will meet at Charles H Bronson State Forest @ Joshua Creek TH, 3468 Phillips Road Christmas
- A Seasonal Hikers Get-TogetherUF/IFAS Extension Seminole County Auditorium, Sanford, FL
We are thrilled to extend our warmest invitation to the Seasonal Hikers' Get Together, a celebration of camaraderie and adventure taking place on December 21, 2023 at 6:30pm. As the days grow shorter and the air turns crisp, let us gather together to share stories, laughter, and a delicious feast that will warm our hearts. Although our chapter typically gathers at Lou Gardens each month, last year we selected another venue and opted to jazz up the event for the holidays.
But wait, there's more! We're turning up the heat with a silent auction featuring lightly used, top-tier hiking gear that will make your outdoor dreams come true. Imagine being the proud owner of a Zpack Nero, Arctic Blast, or a Six Moon Ultralight tent! It's a gear enthusiast's paradise, and you won't want to miss your chance to snag these treasures.
We're excited to announce a potluck at the event! To make this potluck special, we invite each guest to sign up and bring a dish from our provided list. Whether it's a comforting winter stew, a delightful dessert, or a tasty vegetarian option, your culinary contribution will enhance the festive spirit. Please respond promptly so we can create a diverse and well-balanced menu that caters to everyone's taste buds. Your participation will make this potluck an unforgettable culinary experience!
We eagerly anticipate your presence at the Seasonal Hikers' Potluck and look forward to sharing this special evening with you. Let us come together to celebrate the magic of the season, forge new friendships, and savor the joys of hiking in our beautiful state. RSVP by December 15, 2023, and let the countdown to this remarkable event begin!
- Annual National Trails Day© CelebrationNeeds location
American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day© is a nationally recognized trail awareness program that occurs annually on the first Saturday of June and inspires the public to discover, learn about and celebrate trails while participating in outdoor activities, clinics, and trail stewardship projects. National Trails Day is a registered trademark of American Hiking Society.
Join the FTA Central Florida Chapter to celebrate National Trails Day©.
For a list of National Trails Day© events in other places, see the American Hiking Society web site: