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+)

12.4.21 Hike at Hillsborough River State Park

Hillsborough River State Park

Hillsboro River State Park is one of Florida's first state parks. It is also one of the state parks that the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) helped create during the 1930's. It is a place of old oak trees and much natural beauty. It has several hiking and/or nature trails.

We will be hiking about six miles. Please meet at parking lot #3 (on trail map, link below, P3).
Link to trail map
https://www.floridastateparks.org/sites/default/files/media/file/Campground%20Map%20and%20HRSP%20map.pdf

There is an entry fee. As of 10/29/21, the fees are $4/car single occupant and $6/car (two to eight people). You can pay in advance with a link from the park page. (Link below)
https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/hillsborough-river-state-park

Please note, due to covid, this event will be limited to 20 people. If you sign up AND cannot attend, please be considerate and change your RSVP to no.

Dogs on leash are permitted. When we are in motion the leash must be less than six feet.

Children over 8 are welcome with a responsible adult.

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.

Christmas Party at Tenoroc

3829 Tenoroc Mine Rd

The Heartland Chapter is going to have a Christmas Party at the Educational Center.
It will be catered by Smokin' Jim's.
We will be serving Ribs, Chicken, and shredded pork.
Sides will be baked beans, Cole slaw, and corn bread. Plus a salad. Dessert: Brownies with whipped cream.
Drinks will be Water, Green Tea, and black Tea.
You're more than welcome to bring your own favorite drink.

the cost is $ 19.00 per person. Make the check out to Heartland chapter. Sent it to Monika Hoerl, 8427 Tomoka Run, Lakeland. FL. 33810

I have to have the money by Dec. 3 to make final arrangements.

12.18.2021 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 2.5 MPH. The distance is 8 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. Please be prompt.

Attendance is limited to 25 people. IF YOU FIND THAT YOU CAN'T COME, PLEASE CANCEL YOUR RSVP AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO ALLOW A WAITING LIST PERSON TO PLAN TO ATTEND. "No shows" will be noted.

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.

SUGGESTION: Any route we take might involve walking with short wet crossings, about a foot or so deep. A hiking stick is a good idea.

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 (717)

Alafia River Corridor Nature Preserve, Aldermans Ford Conservation Park

Alafia River Corridor Nature Preserve

Photos (8,279)