Highlands Hammock State Park will hold their annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD) activities on Saturday, September 28 in conjunction with this nationwide day of service.
You do not need to be a member of the Florida Trail Association (FTA) to volunteer for this event. For FTA membership information please visit https://www.floridatrail.org/make-a-difference/become-a-member/
Projects that groups have worked on in past years have included the removal of sand pines which assisted with the restoration of habitat for the highly endangered Florida Scrub-jay, the clearing and maintenance of trails, removal of exotic, invasive plants on the trails and throughout the park, and litter pickups on CR 634 which runs through the park. We have very much appreciated the past involvement of the Florida Trail Association Heartland Chapter. We extend a cordial invitation to join us for this year’s NPDL activities.
Planned Work: Wild Lemon Trail Restoration will involve adult volunteers in clearing overgrown vegetation, downed trees and branches, and removing exotic, invasive vegetation from the trail. Abandoned in the early 1940s, park staff were able to locate the Wild Lemon Trail after researching historic maps, GPS, and ground-truthing. Staff had made considerable progress in clearing a substantial portion of it, but experienced setbacks after Hurricane Irma. Volunteers will use brush cutters, loppers, and clippers to continue clearing this trail and remove exotic plants. Those adults who are chain-saw certified may remove downed trees. The goal of this project is to restore this trail and eventually connect it to the Sweetgum Trail, which is a longer historical trail that was the first trail located and cleared when this project was launched several years ago. One of the priorities this year will be working on the Wild Lemon Trail, so that trail restoration may continue into the winter / spring season. Working on the Wild Lemon Trail will require moderate to heavy exertion and will be restricted to adult volunteers who are capable of working independently.
Equipment will be provided. Volunteers are advised to wear hiking boots, old track shoes or some other sturdy shoe and protective clothing, i.e., long pants and a loose long-sleeved shirt over a t-shirt. You may also want to bring a pair of cotton work gloves and a hat. Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, water, cold drinks, and snacks. Bring their own water bottles, canteens or containers. Park staff will provide a water cooler so volunteers may refill their containers or water bottles as needed.
Volunteers…. remember to inform the Ranger Station you are coming into the park for NPLD when you stop at the gate. Park entry fees of $4.00 per single occupant vehicle and $6.00 per vehicle (up to eight people) are waived for NPLD volunteers. Plan to meet in the Picnic Area at 8:30 am on Saturday or Sunday morning for a brief orientation, work assignments, equipment distribution and paring up with park staff who will be working with the groups. Work assignments are based on the priority resource management needs of the park. We normally work from 9:00 am until 11:00 or 11:30 am. Volunteers will receive a Florida State Parks “One Day Pass” which provides “entry into any Florida State Park, good for one vehicle, up to 8 people” in appreciation of their service to the park which may be used for another park entry at a later date.
An hour or two of your time is greatly appreciated!