• 1.21.2022-1.23.2022 Arbuckle 2 Day Volunteer Work Party

    1558 Rucks Dairy Rd

    Please join up for our annual trail Maintenance workday/work weekend at the Arbuckle Tract on the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest. We plan to have workdays both Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 to 2:00. Camp set up is available on Friday afternoon.

    For those that can attend both days and would like to camp we have secured camping sites at Reedy Creek II Hunt Camp for Friday and Saturday night. The camp is located at 1558 Rucks Dairy Road, Frostproof. We will meet at the camp area prior to starting our work at 9:00 on Saturday and Sunday. Campers can come and set up Friday and break camp after the workday on Sunday. Wayne Dobson has agreed to cook meals for our volunteers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Potable water will be provided. No electricity, this is a primitive campground but there is a port-a-potty available.

    This will be a great weekend for camping and will be a fun event that will greatly improve our hiking experience in a unique area of our state.
    In the event you cannot make both days and can work one of the two days please sign up and leave a comment on which day you will be able to work and that you do or don't plan to camp. We will need a head count to help us buy and prepare the correct amount of food.

    Please wear long pants while you are doing maintenance. Bring your hard hat, glasses, loppers and gloves, we have a limited amount available for use. If you are camping, please bring whatever camping gear you need to be comfortable.

    Link to trail map:
    https://www.fdacs.gov/content/download/29770/file/2019%20Lake%20Wales%20Ridge_br-%20KIOSK%20MAP.pdf

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

    My E-Mail address is [masked]

  • 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.
    Note: photo by our very own Lou Albrecht

  • Hike at Blackwater Creek Nature Preserve.

    Blackwater Creek Nature Preserve

    This is a Heartland Chapter of the Florida Trail Association (FTA) hiking activity open 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: Trailhead at 2469 Patrinostro Road, Plant City, FL. The trailhead is off SR 39 (Paul Buchanan Highway) at the end of Patrinostro Rd., a short residential street. There is NO sign on SR 39 indicating Blackwater Creek so watch carefully for the Patrinostro Rd street sign which will be on the west side of the highway. If coming on I-4 take Exit 21 and go north on SR 39 approximately 7.3 miles. You will be turning left onto Patrinostro Road.

    DESCRIPTION: This is a lovely 6-mile hike through some of the best remaining examples of pine flatwoods, palmetto, prairie and riverine swamp, interspersed with oak hammock, cypress swamp, freshwater marsh, and wet prairie. It's a nice cushy hike, mostly on grass with a stop overlooking beautiful Blackwater Creek.

    This is NOT a walk. You should be able to maintain a 2.5 mile per hour pace. Dogs are permitted but must be on a hand-held leash at all times.

    Please no children under 10. There is no bathroom facility at this site.

    Info including link to trail map:
    https://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/locations/blackwater-creek-preserve

    BRING OR WEAR: Wear hiking boots and bring water/drink, snack if desired, hat, sunscreen and insect repellent.

  • Pasture Preserve, Lake County

    Pasture Reserve

    The Pasture Preserve is located in the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern, the literal “heart” of the Floridan aquifer, and is a mosaic of uplands and wetlands. Wetlands include cypress strands, marsh and
    mixed-forested wetlands. Pasture, pine flatwoods and hardwood forest contribute to the upland areas. The property is home to deer, turkeys, alligators and gopher tortoises, among others. It is a special protected area for the Florida Sandhill Crane, a threatened subspecies of the Sandhill Crane.

    At over 800 acres, the property contributes toward the restoration and conservation efforts of the Green Swamp by several government agencies, such as South West Florida Water Management District and
    Department of Environmental Protection. The Reserve is also within the Green Swamp Florida Forever project boundary, and is recognized and identified as part of the state-wide Ecological Greenways Network.

    Total mileage will be around 7 miles. There is a clean restroom at the trailhead but there is no drinking water so bring an adequate supply for yourself. Wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots, hat and don't forget a snack!

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

  • Lakeland Highlands Scrub to Se7en Wetlands Hike (Moderate Hike)

    6998 Lakeland Highlands Rd

    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 1 LITER OF WATER PER PERSON MANDATORY. NO WATER MINIMUM, NO HIKING WITH THIS GROUP.

    DESCRIPTION: This hike is rated as moderate. This hike will not be agreeable to birders. The hike distance is approximately 5.5 miles. Approximate round trip time is 3 hours. We will begin sign-in at 8:30 a.m.

    We will follow the Tortoise Trail and take the connector trail to Se7en Wetlands park at the Wood Stork Gate where we can see the water treatment in action. We do a loop walk of 2.5 miles in the park and return on the connector trail to complete the Tortoise Trail via a boardwalk over a lily pad covered marsh.

    There are toilet facilities at the trailhead and at the Se7en Wetlands Wood Stork gate.

    Jan Wells will be leader; Laura Lusa will be co-leader

    Safety Requirements:
    Minimum 1 liter of water per person mandatory. No water, no hike!
    No bare feet, flip flops, or open-toed footwear.
    Insect protection.
    Snacks/Food

    Driving Directions: Lakeland Highlands Scrub is located in west central Polk County between the cities of Lakeland, Bartow and Mulberry.

    From State Rd 37 (South Florida Avenue):
    Turn east on State Road 540A. Travel east for about three miles. Turn right (south) onto Lakeland Highlands Road, which dead-ends into Lakeland Highlands Scrub.

    From US Hwy 98 South (Bartow Hwy):
    Turn west on State Rd 540A. Turn left on Lakeland Highlands Road, and continue until it dead-ends into the parking area.

  • 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.

    Picture by Lou Albrecht