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DEP Celebrates National Trails Day

June 5, 2009

–Enjoy Florida’s trails on June 6–

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) invites residents to celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday, June 6, at events taking place at parks and trails across the state.

“A leisurely bike ride or a short hike with family and friends along Florida’s trails is a perfect way to kick off summer and celebrate National Trails Day,” said DEP’s Deputy Secretary for Land and Recreation Bob Ballard. “National Trails Day is a great opportunity to encourage environmental stewardship by engaging in outdoor activity at a state park, greenway or trail.”

National Trails Day is the American Hiking Society’s signature trail awareness program and embraces more than 1,000 events hosted by trail and community groups, public agencies and businesses in one of the country’s largest celebrations of trails and the outdoors.

Now in its 17th year, National Trails Day is designed to inspire the public to discover, learn about and celebrate the benefits of trails. The long-range goal of National Trails Day is to establish a nationwide network of trails that would link the nation’s infrastructure of greenways, similar to the interstate highway system.

Events in Florida’s state parks and trails include:

National Trails Day Bike Ride, Nature Coast State Trail - Trenton
June 6, 2009-9:00 a.m.
The DEP Office of Greenways & Trails will host a family-friendly bike ride along the Nature Coast State Trail beginning at the Trenton Depot at 419 North Main Street, Trenton. Ride options range from a few miles for beginners to up to 64 miles for experienced cyclists. For information, call (352) 535-5181.

National Trails Day Volunteer Appreciation Event, Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway - Ocala
June 6, 2009-10:00 a.m.
The DEP Office of Greenways & Trails will recognize and honor the Cross Florida Greenway volunteers in an event featuring an award program and demonstrations by equestrian, hiking and bicycling trail user groups. Activities will take place at the Santos Trailhead, 3080 SE 80th Street, Ocala. For information, call (352) 236-7143.

National Trails Day, Wekiwa Springs State Park - Apopka
June 6, 2009-11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
The Florida Trail Association will give an informative presentation and lead a short hike. Visitors will meet on the deck outside the Nature Center. Regular park admission fees apply. For more information, call (407) 884-2008.

National Trails Day, Washington Oaks Gardens State Park - Palm Coast
June 6, 2009-1:00 p.m.
Join a park ranger on a guided, leisurely walk through the Maritime Hammock, while stopping along the way to discuss flora and fauna native to Florida, park wildlife and a brief history of the area. Regular park admission fees apply. For more information, call (386) 446-6780.

National Trails Day, Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park - Keystone Heights
June 6, 2009-9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
The Florida Trail Association and the American Hiking Society will host a guided two-mile hike on the Ravine/Florida trail. There will be exhibitors and special guests along with refreshments, raffle prizes and awards. Regular park admission fees apply. For more information, call (352) 473-4701.

To learn more about Florida trails, visit FloridaGreenwaysandTrails.com. For more information on Florida’s state parks, visit www.floridastateparks.org

Florida’s greenways and trails offer countless activities that are inexpensive and can be found close to home. DEP’s Office of Greenways and Trails manages eight state trails, in addition to the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway. Of the eight state trails, six are rail-trails, which are railroad corridors converted to recreational trails for hiking, biking, skating, equestrian activities and alternative transportation.

Florida recently garnered national recognition for its commitment to facilitating an outstanding statewide system of trails. Honored for its vision, initiatives and management of trails throughout the state, Florida was the first-ever recipient of the Best Trails State Award presented by American Trails, the only national, nonprofit organization working on behalf of all trail interests.

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