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 (http://www.floridatrail.org/make-a-difference/become-a-member/) to join

Upcoming events (4)

CROSS POSTING: Panel discussion on military base resilience to climate threats

Please join the American Security Project and the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, in partnership with the Nature Conservancy, for a panel discussion on military base resilience to climate change related threats and local resilience and mitigation efforts. Panelists include Vice Admiral Kevin Green, USN (Ret.), Brevard County Commissioner Bryan Lober, and Space Florida’s Vice President of Government & External Relations, Dale Ketcham.

Florida is home to three Combatant Commands and over 20 bases that represent all branches of the U.S. military. The state also provides more than 180,000 square miles of irreplaceable training grounds for U.S. pilots over the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. Climate change, however, poses clear risks to these security assets. Scientists and the Pentagon agree: climate change threatens Florida’s military installations, and these risks are expected to worsen in coming decades.

East Central Florida and the Treasure Coast are home to key assets to U.S. national security, such as Patrick Space Force Base, NASA, and the Navy’s Air Warfare Center. Acute shocks from threats like flooding, heat waves, and rising seas can harmfully impact military readiness at these installations. Coordinated partnerships between the public and private sectors are key to making bases and adjacent communities resilient to climate-related threats. Our panelists will discuss the nature of the threats to local national security installations as well as the federal programs available for local communities to improve climate change preparedness and offset the cost of resilience projects.

Event Details: This in-person event is open to the public
LOCAION: Full Sail, 3260 University Blvd 105
Winter Park, FL 32792

RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/east-central-florida-security-in-a-changing-climate-tickets-186390457877

T'giving primitive camping at Favers Dikes State Park with Happy Hoofers FTA

Still looking for something to do over T'giving? Or, do you just want a day trip from Orlando to go kayaking? Faver-Dykes State Park is conveniently located on the outskirts of St. Augustine. The Happy Hoofers FTA group is hosting a T'giving weekend camping/paddling trip. They plan to camp and in the youth/group part of the campground and go kayaking in the park daily.

Enjoy relaxing, picnicking or fishing under the towering longleaf pines in a sandhill ecosystem that once dominated the Florida landscape.

Pellicer Creek is the southern border and accessible at the boat ramp for canoes, kayaks and small boats. It is a Florida Designated Paddling Trail, and you can either head east to the Pellicer flats and Matanzas River or west to the freshwater beginnings. Pellicer Creek has an average depth of 2 to 6 feet. It is one of the most pristine estuarine tidal marshes on the east coast of Florida, with abundant salt and fresh water fish plus magnificent birding and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Camp under the shady hardwood hammock where many generations of Floridians have lived, worked and played. Meet the Happy Hoofer Chapter for their 15th annual paddle trip over T'giving weekend. If you want PRIMITIVE camping (don't be confused--regular state park site is filled and this area is reserved for more primitive camping. There is a water pump/pit toilet but no showers) contact David Denham: [masked][masked] T'giving meal will be potluck.

Pellicer Creek is a popular site for birding with more than 100 bird species during spring and fall migrations. Songbirds, including the colorful wood warblers, along with eagles and falcons return to nest at the park each year. Wading birds such as egrets, wood storks, white ibis and herons feed in the tidal marshes and creeks. This peaceful park is also home to deer, turkeys, hawks, bobcats and river otters.

NOTE: FTA will be asked to sign a waver saying you have had a COVID shot or had a negative test 48 hours before the activity.

CAMPING FEE IS 5.00 per night


2021 Annual Thanksgiving Campout

Online event

Your 2021 Thanksgiving Campout will be at the beautiful Anastasia State Park just out side of historic St. Augustine

This activity is open to FTA Members only. See below for Covid-19 restrictions.

When: November 25th thru the 28th.

Check-in is at 12:00 noon and Dinner is at 4:00 pm.

Mary- Slater has reserved a pavilion for Thanksgiving day. It comes with electricity so should you need to heat something up at the last minute you'll be good to go.

Sue Carroll has agreed, once again, to coordinate the food situation. Look for her email as in years past.

Camping Reservations: many of you were able to get reservations last year, but many did not. I checked today and there was nothing available, as was expected. If you have a reservation and wouldn't mine sharing your site, please post a message on this activities message board. For those who were not lucky enough to get a reservation, please keep an eye for those offering to share their site on this message board.

Activities: For those who have never been to Anastasia SP, there are many things to do including kayaking, hiking, and swimming in addition to long walks on the beach. If your into photography, there is plenty of wildlife for your viewing and picturing taking pleasure.

Covid-19 requirements as mandated by the FTA Board.

You will be required to sign an Assumption of Risk form which basically says you are fully vaccinated or have received a negative COVID test results within 72 hours of the start of this activity. For more details on the COVID guidelines, please refer to: floridatrail.org/covid-19

If you have any questions, concerns or recommendations, you can text Mary or I at the following numbers
Ron Aube -[masked]
Mary-Slater- 407-[masked]
Please keep in mind Mary-Slater is working so she may not respond right away. Your best bet it to try me first.

Just a reminder: donations are requested to pay for the pavilion and if you've got some extra firewood, please donate to the cause.

Looking forward to seeing everyone and hoping we'll have excellent weather. Don't forget your camp chairs.

Best Regards

Ron and MS

Annual National Trails Day© Celebration

Needs a 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:


Past events (1,166)

Historical Hike - Cassadaga/Lake Helen ~ 7 miles

Colby-Alderman Park

Photos (19,815)

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