What we're about

The Heartland Chapter is one of 18 chapters for the Florida Trail Association. The FTA is a volunteer group that maintains the Florida National Scenic Trail, a 1500 mile thru hiking trail from Big Cypress to the Panhandle. The Heartland Chapter is responsible for the maintenance of the trail in Polk, Highlands, Hardee and Desoto counties. We also maintain several loop trails throughout Polk County. Visit us at heartland.floridatrail.org for more information about our chapter. Or go to www.floridatrail.org to learn more about the Florida Trail Association.

Upcoming events (5+)

Earth Day Event Weekend Camping at Highlands Hammock State Park

Highlands Hammock State Park

Enjoy a weekend of leisurely state park camping. Come join us for the weekend or just the day, Friday night will be a simple get-together around the campfire, Share your outdoor adventure experiences, knot tying skills, a favorite ghost story, or whatever comes to mind! Saturday morning will be impromptu hikes on any of the park's many trails. Longest trail is just under 3 miles. Also on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m., Highlands Hammock State Park will be hosting a Earth Day event. FTA will have a booth at the event. Come and enjoy the day; wear your FTA t-shirt; let people know about hiking the NFST and the many other trails in Florida. The event ends at 3 p.m. Saturday evening dinner can be on your own or a group outing to one of many restaurants in Sebring, FL, a short 4 mile drive away. Check-out on Sunday is 1 p.m. Hope to see you there! Camping reservations for Highlands Hammock State Park, Sebring, FL can be made on the Reserve America website; www.reserveamerica.com

Hike before Earth Day event at Highland Hammock State Park.

State of Florida Civilian Conservation Corps Museum

DESCRIPTION: Join us in hiking some of the beautiful trails at Highland Hammock State Park. We will be doing an approximate one hour walk. Between 10 am and 3 pm, the state park will be hosting an Earth Day event. Heartland Chapter will be having a booth at this event. Please note, as this is a state park, there will be a $ 6.00 entry fee. Trail maps are available from the rangers at the entrance. https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/highlands-hammock-state-park BRING OR WEAR: Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots (no flip flops), water, snacks, and sun/insect protection.

4.20.19 Hike at Saddle Creek section of Tenoroc WMA

Tenoroc FMA Saddle Creek Tract

DESCRIPTION: This former phosphate mining area consists of lakes, marshes, grasslands and wooded hills, and is an important refuge for wildlife. Entrance to state Tenoroc trail is from county Saddle Creek Park off of US 92. This moderate hike will be approximately six to seven miles. We will be using the Lost Lake, Flat Woods, trail as well as part of the red trail to the four benches. Average time is between three and four hours. Dogs, if well behaved, are welcome. Children are welcome if they can handle a six-mile long hike. Please note, as you are doing a Florida Trail chapter activity, it is not necessary to pay for admittance. If coming to area on another day, please be advised there is a $3/person fee (unless FL resident over 65). Self-pay station is found at beginning of trail. State trail is only open Friday through Monday. Afterwards, come join us at Tapatio’s Restaurante Mexicano. Their address is 734 E Memorial Blvd., Lakeland, FL 33801. https://www.tapatiosmemorial.com/menu BRING OR WEAR: Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots (no flip flops or barefoot), water, snacks and/or lunch, and insect protection. It is NECESSARY to bring water. Bring at least two bottles OR equivalent in a hydropack.

Kayak on the Hillsborough River

John B Sargeant Sr Park

DESCRIPTION: Kayak from Sergeant’s Park to Trout Creek with a snack break at Morris Bridge. This approximately eight-mile paddle will take between three to four hours. IMPORTANT NOTE: THERE IS A LIMIT FOR THIS EVENT. IF YOU SIGN UP BUT CAN’T MAKE IT, PLEASE CHANGE YOUR MEETUP RSVP TO “NO”. YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR RSVP AT ANY TIME UP TO WHEN THE EVENT STARTS. IN ADDITION, IF CANCELLING ON THE DAY OF THE EVENT, PLEASE REACH OUT TO ACTIVITY LEADER EITHER BY PHONE OR AS A COMMENT. IF UNDER YOUR ATTENDANCE STATS, YOU HAVE TWO OR MORE “No shows”, YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO SIGN UP FOR THIS PARTICULAR EVENT. Rentals are available at Canoe Escapes http://www.canoeescape.com/ and[masked]); reservations strongly recommended. Rentals will include a ride back to your car. We will be shuttling cars from Sergeant’s Park down to Trout Creek. There is a $2.00 parking fee that will be good for both parks. BE READY TO SHUTTLE BY 9:00 AM. If renting, give time to be ready to put in with group. As we will be shuttling cars, whenever possible, PLEASE HAVE ROOM AVAILABLE in your vehicle to EITHER bring people back in the beginning of the trip (from the take out parking area back to the launch site) OR be able at the end to bring a driver plus kayak back (from the take out parking area back to their vehicle in the launch area). Your help with this will be appreciated. Map information: https://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/guide/designated_paddle/Hills_guide.pdf BRING OR WEAR: Bring water, snacks and/or lunch, sun and insect protection. If bringing your own kayak, in addition to a paddle, you must have a whistle and PDF.

Past events (612)

3.24.19 Hike at Circle B Bar Reserve

Polk's Nature Discovery Center

Photos (7,020)