What we're about

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 (3)

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.

Tiger Creek Preserve - Pfundstein Trail and Heron Pond Loop

The Nature Conservancy's Tiger Creek 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 open to the public. FTA membership is not required to participate.

We will be doing the Pfundstein Trail to the Highlands Loop Trail with a side trip around the Heron Pond Loop . When we reach the Highlands Loop Trail we will follow it a brief distance to see the some of the stunning display of Florida Blue Lupine. We will then return back to the trailhead of the Pfundstein Trail where we began. Total mileage is estimated to be around 5-6 miles.

The Preserve is managed by the Nature Conservancy and located east of US 27 between Babson Park and Frostproof. The trail traverses the rolling hills of the Lake Wales Ridge, including some of the highest hills and oldest land in the Florida peninsula. Botanical diversity is extensive along this trail. Please be aware there is no bathroom facility at Tiger Creek Preserve. Best to stop at the Mini Mac Convenience Store on Route 17 in Babson Park beforehand. The entrance to this area of the Preserve is south of Babson Park off Route 17 at Murray Rd. Proceed to Pfundstein Road and follow signs to the parking area at the trailhead.

Florida Trail Association web link for Tiger Creek
https://www.floridatrail.org/tiger-creek-preserve/

The Nature Conservancy web link for Tiger Creek
https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/places-we-protect/tiger-creek-preserve/

Web-links to Trail Maps for Tiger Creek
https://www.nature.org/content/dam/tnc/nature/en/documents/TCP_gps_enabled_HikingTrailMap2019-06-24.pdf

Safety Requirements:
Minimum 2 liters of water per person. No water, no hike!
No bare feet, flip flops, or open-toed footwear.
Sun Screen/Insect protection.
Snacks/Food

Hike at Highland Hammock State Park

State of Florida Civilian Conservation Corps Museum

LOCATION: Highlands Hammock State Park, 5931 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872. Meet at the parking lot in front of the CCC Museum. If unsure of the location, ask at the ranger station upon entry. For Google maps, use the location of State of Florida Civilian Conservation Corps Museum, Picnic Area Road. DESCRIPTION: Please note, as this is a state park, there will be an entry fee. As of December 2020, fees are: $4/single occupant vehicle and $6/vehicle with up to six people. Come hike with us at one of Florida's first state park and a wonderful example of CCC construction. There are approximately nine trails with a boardwalk that traverses an old-growth cypress swamp. We will be hiking around six miles. Children five and older are welcome with responsible adult. Because of boardwalk restrictions, DO NOT BRING DOGS FOR THIS HIKE. COVID NOTES: Per Website: "Effective Dec. 4, 2020: Highlands Hammock State Park is open (see hours of operation and fee information below). The Civilian Conservation Corps Museum, recreation hall, amphitheater and all playgrounds remain closed until further notice. Picnic pavilions are not available for reservation but are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Restroom availability may be limited. Visitors are expected to maintain distances of at least six feet apart." Link to website: https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/highlands-hammock-state-park/hours-fees 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. Please read the Florida Trail Association COVID guidelines before coming. It will save time at the sign in. A link to the guidelines is below. https://www.floridatrail.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/FTA-COVID-19-Operating-Procedures-Revision-2-7-30-2020.pdf OTHER NOTES: IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Being a member of this Meetup group is the NOT the same as being a paid member in the Florida Trail Association (FTA). Membership in the FTA helps us in our efforts to build, protect and promote the Florida National Scenic Trail. Information on joining FTA 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. BRING OR WEAR: Walking or hiking shoes, WATER, snacks, sun and insect protection.

Past events (692)

March FTA Heartland Chapter Meeting

1558 Rucks Dairy Rd

Photos (7,912)