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The Heartland Chapter is one of 19 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 www.HeartlandFTA.org (http://www.heartlandfta.org/) for more information about our chapter. Or go to www.floridatrail.org (http://www.floridatrail.org/) to learn more about the Florida Trail Association.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Becoming a member of this Meetup group is not to be assumed as becoming a member in the Florida Trail Association (FTA). FTA membership information is available at https://www.floridatrail.org/make-a-difference/become-a-member/ .

Upcoming events (2)

12.19.2020 Hike the Lower Green Swamp trails (Moderate Paced Hike)

Lower Green Swamp Preserve

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Becoming a member of this Meetup group is not to be assumed as becoming a member in the Florida Trail Association (FTA). Membership in the Florida Trail Association helps us in our efforts to build, protect and promote the Florida National Scenic Trail. FTA membership information is available at https://www.floridatrail.org/make-a-difference/become-a-member/. This is a Heartland Chapter of the Florida Trail Association (FTA) hiking activity opened to the public. FTA membership is not required to participate. READ THIS: MINIMUM 2 LITERS OF WATER PER PERSON MANDATORY. NO WATER MINIMUM, NO HIKING WITH THIS GROUP. DESCRIPTION: This hike is rated as moderate due to the pace to be set. This hike will not be agreeable to birders, or new hikers or those with new hiking footwear! This will be a moderate paced hike of about 2-2.5 MPH. The distance is 6-7 miles; the exact route to be determined based on condition of trails. Approximate round trip time is 3-3.5 hours. We will begin sign-in at 8:30 a.m. The Lower Green Swamp Nature Preserve is a 12,800-acre tract located at the northeast corner of Hillsborough County. Formerly known as Cone Ranch and Audubon Ranch, the property was managed by the County’s Public Utilities Water Department from 1988 to 2010, when it was transferred as part of the County's Jan K. Platt Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program (ELAPP). The majority of this property has been managed with a cattle lease since 1992. In 2013, approximately 3,000 acres were opened for public access on hiking and equestrian trails. Over the next 20 years, the cattle lease area will be decreased as native longleaf pine habitat is restored. Safety Requirements: Minimum 2 liters of water per person mandatory. No water, no hike! No bare feet, flip flops, or open-toed footwear. Insect protection. Snacks/Food Note: Masks will be required at the trailhead during sign in. Once the hike is underway masks may be removed but reasonable social distancing is requested.

Circle B Bar Reserve Hike

Circle B Bar Reserve

This is a Heartland Chapter of the Florida Trail Association (FTA) hiking activity opened to the public. FTA membership is not required to participate. Membership in the Florida Trail Association helps us in our efforts to build, protect and promote the Florida National Scenic Trail. For FTA membership information please visit https://www.floridatrail.org/make-a-difference/become-a-member/ LOCATION: Circle B Bar Reserve; 4399 Winter Lake Road (SR 540); Lakeland, FL 33803. For Google maps use Polk’s Nature Discovery Center, Discovery Drive, Lakeland, FL. Meet in the Nature Center parking lot. DESCRIPTION: This is a moderately paced hike (not a walk!) with lots of opportunity to observe wildlife. Approximately 4 miles in length but route depends on conditions of trails and any closures. PETS ARE NOT ALLOWED AT THIS LOCATION. Please, no children under 10. Info including link to trail map and info on trail closures: http://polknature.com/explore/circle-b-bar-reserve#panel1 BRING OR WEAR: Hiking shoes, brimmed hat, water, sun, and insect protection. Cameras and binoculars are welcomed. Masks must be worn until the hike starts. Social distancing should be practiced as much as possible.

Past events (674)

12.5.20 Hike at Blackwater Creek Nature Preserve.

Blackwater Creek Nature Preserve

Photos (7,697)