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 (4+)

Hike ,Tenoroc, Picnic Lake

Tenoroc Public Use Area

Will do a short 2 mile hike on the blue trail before the chapter meeting.
You will climb a steep hill.

give yourself a little extra time to get through the check in "Welcome Center"
I'll give them all your names that are on Meetup, before you get there.
You do not have to pay, as it is a FTA activity.

Picnic Lake is a good mile after you went through the check in station.

we will start from Picnic Lake promptly at 8:15. Hike should take one hour.

Enough time to get back and get ready for the chapter meeting.

Don't forget water, bug spray and good shoes..
COVID 19 restrictions are in place

FTA Heartland Chapter Meeting

3829 Tenoroc Mine Rd

Join us for the second chapter meeting of the[masked] Fall/Winter hiking season. We will meet at the Tenoroc Fish Management Area, Picnic Lake Pavilion, in Lakeland. (Note: this venue is open air). The hiking season is now in full swing so we will catch up on the condition and availability of trails, upcoming events, trail hikes, including new backpack adventures, and work hikes. There will be an update on state activities in Gainesville and regional upcoming events such as IDIDAHIKE in February 2022.
Bring a lunch and we can eat at the pavilion's picnic tables after the meeting.

Directions: Take Tenoroc Mine Road off North Combee Road to the entrance office. Stop at the window. If you have responded that you are coming your name will be on a list. Once your name has been verified you should proceed straight ahead and continue until you see signage on the left for Picnic Lake and Heartland Chapter meeting (approximately a mile). Turn left and park across from the pavilion.

If you decide to come at the last minute and have not responded on Meetup by the 29th, you will have to provide identifying information, such as driver's license, at the entrance booth.

**Prior to the meeting Monika Hoerl will be leading a short hike. This hike is posted in a separate announcement on Meetup.

Note: Chapter Meetings are open to members and non-members. Masks and distancing are recommended.

Beginners and Mentors Backpacking Event (Arbuckle)

451 School Bus Rd

This is a Heartland Chapter of the Florida Trail Association (FTA) activity opened to the public. FTA membership is not required to participate.

All levels welcome on this backpacking trip, due to many requests, this trip is catering to beginners but hoping for advanced hikers interested in a leisurely hike and willing to share their knowledge and skills with beginner hikers. We will be hiking for 3 days, 2 nights approximately 13 miles on the yellow and blue loop of the Arbuckle Tract, Lake Wales Ridge State Forest.

Day. 1
• Beginner workshop 9:30 at McLean Cabin. If you do not wish to participate with the beginner workshop, be on time to start hiking at noon. (There is a porta potty at this location)
• Pack weigh-in and shake-down
• Gear show and tell
• Tips for enjoying your hike (for me it is a light pack and comfy shoes)
• Suggested gear to reduce pack weight
• 12:00 noon - hike approximately 5 miles to first campsite.

Day 2
• Two-mile hike to Paula Dockery Trailhead
•. If you would like to terminate your hike at this point, we will have a car staged here. There are porta potties near this stop
• We will continue hiking approximately 3.7 miles to the next camp site

Day 3.
• Hike approximately 3.5 miles Back to McLean Cabin where your vehicle is parked

You MUST have basic backpacking gear. Backpack, tent, bedding, water bottles, head lamp, etc. We can share our water filters if you do not have one and stoves for heating water. You need to bring your own food for 2 breakfasts, 2 to 3 lunches and 2 dinners. Dehydrated meals from Walmart are a lightweight option as well as oatmeal for breakfast.

There are many habitat types we will hike through. The trail runs along the high banks of Livingston creek, 2 miles along Lake Arbuckle, cutthroat flat woods and scrub. There are some stretches of open sun and sugar sand areas on this loop. We will hike rain or shine, raincoats advised if rain is predicted.

The closest address is 451 School Bus Road. After reaching this address continue driving approximately 3 miles to McLean Cabin (sign on right of road if driving south).

Cell phone service is spotty, be sure to lock in the address before you get close to the area.

We have reserved two primitive campsites on Reserve America, please bring small bills to split the cost of the camping fee. It will be $5 a person. We will limit this to 10 people due to the campsite size.

Safety Requirements:
Long pants required. Long sleeve shirt recommended.
Minimum 2 liters of water per person mandatory.
Sturdy footwear. No bare feet, flip flops, or open-toed footwear.
A hat for sun protection.
Insect protection.

Hike at Tiger Creek Preserve, Wakeford Trailhead

8399 Wakeford Rd

This is a Heartland Chapter of the Florida Trail Association (FTA) activity opened to the public. FTA membership is not required to participate.

This is a moderately paced hike (not a walk). Approximately 7.5 miles in length, it will include The Tiger Creek Bluffs loop trail and the Highlands loop trail. We can see a variety of wildlife and flowers. At approximately the halfway we will take a break at Trisha Peak.

BRING OR WEAR: Hiking boots, a Hat, at least 1 liter (1quart) of water, sunscreen, and insect protection. The bluff loop trail is shaded, but the Highlands loop trail is in direct sun. There are NO bathroom facilities.

Past events (710)

Circle B Bar Reserve Hike

Circle B Bar Reserve

Photos (8,185)