The Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT) held six well-attended public workshops throughout the state in September to solicit input for updating the opportunity maps for the Florida Greenways and Trails System. The opportunity maps are the base maps used to complete the overall system of connected greenways and trails in Florida. They consist of existing, planned and conceptual non-motorized land trails and paddling trails.
Even though the public workshops are finished, you can still provide input untilOctober 23rd by contacting the appropriate regional coordinator in OGT.
During this planning process two opportunity maps are being updated:
The Land Trails Opportunity Map comprises trail planning efforts by cities, counties, transportation planning organizations and other agencies throughout Florida, focusing on linear trails that form a comprehensive connected system.
The Paddling Trails Opportunity Map represents the vision for a comprehensive water-based trails system. It includes waterways that are designated as part of the Florida Greenways and Trails System or are appropriate for future designation. These trails must be scenic, at least three miles in length, and navigable for the majority of the year.
To ensure that the department uses the most accurate, current and comprehensive data for the opportunity maps, the Office of Greenways and Trails conducts reviews and updates of the maps every three years. The finalized maps will be presented to the Florida Greenways and Trails Council for approval at its December meeting.
"Wish You Were Here" Events Planned
Several of Florida’s roadside attractions that were once popular tourism magnets are today’s premier state parks. To explore these delightful destinations visitors can plan an adventure using the ‘Wish You Were Here’ self-guided itinerary developed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Recreation and Parks (DRP). Visitors can create their own road trip adventures traveling to state parks that were once roadside attractions existing before 1970. The route begins at Wakulla Springs and meanders to Silver Springs, De Leon Springs, Weeki Wachee Springs, Homosassa Springs and Rainbow Springs.
DRP partnered with the University of Central Florida and University of Florida to create interpretive materials to tell the story of each former attraction. At the University of Florida, a graduate honor’s class was developed entirely around Florida State Parks to support 'Wish You Were Here'.
The six state parks included in itinerary project all freature freshwater springs.
Each of the six state parks will host a 'Wish You Were Here' event during fall 2015.
Nov. 8, De Leon Springs State Park, 1 to 4 p.m.
Nov. 11, Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park, 1 to 4 p.m.
Nov. 12, Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park,11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Nov. 21, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, 2 to 5 p.m.
Nov. 22, Silver Springs State Park, Real Florida Festival, time TBA
Dec. 2, Rainbow Springs State Park, 1 to 3 p.m.
Grand Opening of the Kissimmee Trail Bridge
The Kissimmee Trail pedestrian bicycle bridge officially opened Wednesday, September 16, 2015, with a ceremony and ribbon cutting.The total structure, more than 1,100 feet in length, provides a visual gateway with signage welcoming traffic into the City of Kissimmee from the north. An emphasis was placed on green features in the design process, such as solar lighting that will reduce its environmental footprint.
The bridge was planned as part of a coordinated effort between the city, Osceola and Orange counties, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and MetroPlan Orlando. Construction began in December 2013 and was recently completed at a cost of $9 million, with nearly 95 percent of the funding coming from the FDOT.
The 220 foot main span crosses over John Young Parkway. It's one of the final keys in the grand plan for the City of Kissimmee’s bicycle path system and connector to the Osceola/Orange County bicycle network and the Shingle Creek Regional Trail system. The Kissimmee Trail Bridge allows for the continuation of the Kissimmee Trail Loop, a seven-mile trail that will use off-street paths as well as sidewalks and dedicated bike lanes. The trail is about 75 percent complete, with bike lanes along central and the western section along Shingle Creek yet to be completed. That part of the trail will ultimately, as part of the Shingle Creek Regional Trail, connect to Orlando and other parts of Orange County.
The Underline Trail Vision
Currently known as the MPath, the bike path underneath the City of Miami’s Metrorail has limited lighting or amenities and needs wider and safer crosswalks. The vision of The Underline Trail addresses these pedestrian and bicycling safety issues and much more. The Underline is the brain-child of Friends of The Underline, a non-profit organization advocating to transform the underutilized land below Miami’s Metrorail into a 10-mile, 121-acre linear park.
Supporters intend to create The Underline as a world class park that will connect communities, improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, will restore natural habitats, encourage a healthy lifestyle, provide an easily accessible place to exercise and create a mobility corridor that integrates transit, car, biking and walking. The result will be a smarter, safer and less congested city. This urban trail has the potential of attracting tourists and revitalizing businesses along US 1.
The Underline will include innovative public art installations by recognized national and Miami-based visual artists to enrich the public realm. To that end, the Friends of the Underline and Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department, recently partnered to receive $200,000 from the prestigious ArtPlace America ‘s 2015 National Grants Program.
The Underline is a vision embraced by many in the local community including the Office of the Mayor, Miami-Dade County, homeowners associations, local museums, botanical gardens and the Netherlands’ Embassy in Miami.
National Trails Survey
The Rails to Trails Conservancy is conducting a national survey of trail users to assist with trail planning and development. Take the Survey!
Celebrate Greenways and Trails Month!
October is Florida Greenways and Trails Month and that usually means drier, cooler days—perfect for getting outdoors! Take some time to explore a wooded path or glide down your favorite river or stretch of coastline.
The Office of Greenways and Trails, within the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Recreation and Parks, welcomes this annual occasion to highlight the variety of local and regional trail activities throughout the state and their health and economic benefits.
Bicycling events are highlighted by the Suwannee Fat Tire FestivalOctober 23-25, and don’t forget the always fun Ride of the Living Dead cycling event on the Cross Florida Greenway October 24. There are two ride options—22 or 50 miles. Dress up in your best Halloween costume for the contest!
The Shared Use Nonmotorized (SUN) Trail Network is a program with dedicated funding to implement paved trails.
The trails community was excited to learn that establishing a connected paved trail system recently took a big step forward. Beginning in 2015, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will be allocated $25 million annuallyfrom new vehicle tag fees to expand the statewide network of paved trails. Expanding the state’s trail network has the potential of producing numerous economic benefits, including increasing spending at local businesses, influencing business location, revitalizing depressed areas, providing sustainable tourism opportunities and creating jobs.
The SUN Trail Network is a component of the 2013-2017 Florida Greenways and Trails System (FGTS) Plan. In 2014, the FDOT was directed to give funding priority to trail projects of national, statewide or regional importance identified within the FGTS Plan, support the transportation needs of bicyclists and pedestrians, and facilitate an interconnected system of trails by completing gaps between existing trails. As FDOT or a certified contractor completes a trail's construction, another entity will operate and maintain it.
The FGTS Plan is the responsibility of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT).As a basis, the agencies are using the publicly reviewed and approved 2013-2017 FGTS Plan and the Priority Land Trails network that was adopted in 2012 for the plan. The Priority Land Trails map and 2013-2017 FGTS Plan were adopted through an extensive public process and approved by the Florida Greenways and Trails Council, a group consisting of local, state, and federal land managers, a representative from the FDOT, and citizens who use trails and greenways.
The process of identifying the statewide trail system begins at the local level, with hundreds of smaller potential trails of varying lengths submitted by municipal and county governments and regional planners to OGT. In December 2015, OGT will recommend approval of an update to the statewide Opportunity Map of land and paddling trail corridors to the Florida Greenways and Trails Council. Following the Opportunity Map update in 2015, then OGT will evaluate these corridors in relationship to the 2013-2017 FGTS Plan and the Priority Land Trails map. Priority Trails are not being updated in 2015, but will be updated beginning in 2017 for approval by the Florida Greenways and Trails Council as part of the 2018-2023 FGTS Plan.
The new SUN Trail program is currently in development, and FDOT is in the early stages of establishing the program guidelines. FDOT and OGT are working closely during this process and expect the SUN Trail Network will closely align with the publicly reviewed Priority Land Trails. Sun Trail project review and prioritization will continue to be a public process. Funding for implementing SUN Trail provides unprecedented state support for the vision of one day traveling an established interconnected system of trails from Pensacola to Key West.
Holmes Creek Paddling Trail Extended
The popular Holmes Creek Paddling Trail in Florida’s Panhandle has been extended on both ends of the currently designated portion. Increased from 19 to 34 miles, this stunning waterway offers a longer paddling opportunity for those who are drawn to the creek’s pristine waters and scenic beauty.
Paddlers are urged to visit Holmes Creek during weekdays and the cooler months of the year to avoid the crowds and boats that fill the river on warm weekends, especially Cypress Springs. In spring and fall the arching trees explode with radiant hues while wildflowers dot the banks with splashes of color. The observant paddler will see all manner of wildlife above and below the clear waters, a window to a dynamic underwater realm.
Burnt Sock Landing at the northern end of the creek, managed by the Northwest Florida Water Management District, adds an extra two miles to the top end of the trail. This recently opened public access provides ample parking and is suitable for canoes, kayaks, and small carry-in fishing boats. To explore the longer southern portion of Holmes Creek, paddle downstream from Live Oak Landing, the original endpoint of the trail. It is six miles to Shell Landing on the west side of Holmes Creek or Potter Springs Landing, a short distance further on the east side of the creek. Another 1.5 miles downstream Holmes Creek joins the majestic Choctawhatchee River. The first available public access on the Choctawhatchee River is Cedar Tree Landing, 5 miles downstream. Stay tuned for a revised on-line paddling guide and enjoy a splendid fall adventure on Holmes Creek.
Destroyed boardwalk and mud along FNST near Spring Creek, by Barry Haber
Vote for Grant to Rebuild FNST Boardwalks
The Florida Trail is one of America’s eleven National Scenic Trails and, it seems, one of America’s best kept secrets. In case you are among the unaware, the 1,300-mile Florida National Scenic Trail (FNST) extends north from Big Cypress National Preserve and through the Osceola National Forest, where it turns west and heads across the Panhandle to Gulf Islands National Seashore.
On its way across the Panhandle, the FNST passes through the Saint Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Within the Refuge, the Trail crosses the headwaters of Spring Creek—an area of tidal ebb and flow and, in spots, of crotch-deep black mud. With no dry land available, the worst of the muddy places were spanned by boardwalks. Ten years ago, a hurricane’s storm surge raised those boardwalks up and twisted them like corkscrews. Eventually they became too dangerous to clamber over, they were removed, and the Trail was closed—resulting in a 5.25-mile road-walk detour around this highly scenic area.
The Florida Trail Association (FTA) is among the finalists in a voting contest for a grant from the American Hiking Society to replace those boardwalks and close this gap in the Trail. The two trail projects with the most votes will each win $25,000. You can help FTA win a grant by voting for the FNST every day, through the end of October. Ask your family, friends, neighbors, and club members (over age 21) to vote, and put it out on your social media (facebook, twitter, etc.) too. Vote today and vote every day!
PERCY is a 2-3 yr old wire-hair terrier mix. He is sweet as can be, smart and playful. He is housebroken, heartworm negative and neutered. He is a huge fan of chickens, but not in a good way and he can scale a fence like Spider Man. Terriers make great pets for people who understand them and who are smarter than they are!
Volunteers are desperately needed to socialize all of our dogs and cats. We are always looking for people willing to bring one of our animals into their home to be fostered for various needs. Anytime you can spare would be greatly appreciated.
Call Karen at 670-8417 for more details or visit the Franklin County Humane Society at 244 State Road 65 in Eastpoint. You may logon to the website at www.forgottenpets.org to see more of our adoptable pets.
If you or your business is interested in hosting a Business Luncheon or a Business After Hours in 2015, please feel free to call the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce at 850-653-9419 or email
John C. Solomon email@example.com
Ticket are on sale now at the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce for the Apalachicola Downtown Oyster Roast on November 6th, 2015. Limited number of tickets are available so get yours now. Call us at850-653-9419 to purchase your tickets today. $60.00 per person
Business Luncheon & Business After Hours
If you or your business is interested in hosting a Business Luncheon or a Business After Hours in 2016, please feel free to call the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce at 850-653-9419 or email
Service Plus Office Machines is a family owned and operated business built on the principles of providing affordable, efficient, and reliable office machines and extensive around-the-clock service. Our factory trained crew and commitment to customer satisfaction are the key ingredients of our success. Russ King is the local representative in the area.
Bite Me Deli & Catering
Owned by Craig & Becky Gibson and their son KC Bite Me Deli has Fresh Deli Meats, cheeses, gourmet sandwiches, soups, & salads. Also fresh local seafood on the lunch menu. Daily lunch specials & catering for any type of event. Located at 146 Ave (corner of 12th and Hwy 98).
Franklin Correctional Institution
Warden Robin Smith
Located at 1760 Hwy 67 Carrabelle. FCI is looking for some dedicated career minded individuals. Paid vacations, salary incentive programs, great benefits and early retirement are just part of the benefits of being a Correctional Officer. Contact Ashley Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org
Women's League of Franklin County
The Women's League of Franklin County is an organization of enthusiastic women dedicated to strengthening our community and each other through volunteering, friendship and fundraising.
Water Flying LTD.
Bay Eco Tours
Owned by Captain Pete Burgher Water Flying LTD, Bay Eco Tours Specializes in Air boat Eco Tours of natural area, flora and fauna. Experienced Captain provides an informed commentary on what you will see. Located at 2624 Indian Pass Road Port St. Joe. 850-227-1067
Apalachicola Blueway Transit LLC
Owned by Robin & Mike Vroegop located at 118 Commerce St. in Apalachicola
Ilse Newell Fund for the Performing Arts
The 2016 season will be the 30th year that the Ilse Newell Concert Series has brought Great Music to Apalachicola. These we well-attended concerts are presented at the historic Trinity Episcopal Church on Sunday afternoons during the winter season. The concert season begins this December 13th with a performance by the Bay Area Choral Society. Then from January 10th continuing until March 6th the Ilse Newell INCONCERT Series will present eight superbSunday afternoon musical events - from classical Baroque instruments to fabulous new original compositions for trumpet and violin, and an entertaining afternoon of opera favorites. In addition to the concerts at Trinity Church, this season INCONCERT will present eight exciting programs on Friday Night at the Rio Carrabelle building in downtown Carrabelle. This intimate cabaret "listening room" will feature the very best from the FSU jazz studies program performing hot & cool jazz standards.
Sue Summers has been a part of the education profession for 38 years. Dr. Summers started her career as a social studies teacher in Dixie County before returning to Liberty County. There she continued her work in education serving as an occupational specialist, Director of Instruction and Superintendent. Dr. Summers has two adult sons and is anticipating her first grandchild in April.
Liz Early, a former business owner who recently moved here from New Hampshire, said "I've always wanted to live here". Having vacationed in the area several times over the years, when she sold her business in NH last year, she decided to head south. As a new associate member of the chamber, she looks forward to meeting people in the area, and hopes to find a job with in the community.
Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce
Recognized as a Certified Tourism Information Center
In correlation with a new VISIT FLORIDA program, Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center is officially a Florida Certified Tourism Information Center.
The VISIT FLORIDA Certified Tourism Information Centers (CTICs) Program brings VISIT FLORIDA recognition to Visitor Services facilities around the state, providing these facilities and their staff with benefits that enable successful promotion of travel to and throughout Florida.
To become an official Florida Certified Tourism Information Center, visitor centers must meet requirements specified by VISIT FLORIDA, such as: centers must be a VISIT FLORIDA Partner, centers must be open year-round at a minimum of five days per week, centers must be located in a convenient and accessible location for the ease of travelers, and centers must have access to parking and restroom facilities to accommodate visitors including persons with disabilities.
"We are very happy to be included in this prestigious roster of new VISIT FLORIDA CTIC's from across the state. This Distinction provides an extra layer of service to our visitors. It is an honor for the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center to be recognized as an official CTIC Visitor Center". John Solomon Executive Director Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce.
"We are excited that the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce has received this well, deserved designation. Our Visitor Centers are an important part of our county's marketing program"Curt Blair Director of the Franklin County (TDC) Tourism Development Council.
The Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce Officially the oldest in the State of Florida
After months of research with many helping hands, the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce got the news it was hoping for.
Thanks to Caty Greene and Mark Curenton for help over the past year looking through old records to document the existence of Apalachicola's Chamber prior to 1843. For a long time, it was impossible to document the existence of the Chamber before 1843. then local historian Mark Curenton found a brief reference to the president and secretary of the Chamber in a document dating to 1842.That echoed territory letters and encouraged us to delve further.
Chamber member Dixie Partington, in the course of working on a project for the Big Bend Scenic Byway, contacted the Florida Chamber of Commerce and asked if they knew which was the oldest Chamber of Commerce in the state. They informed her that the Apalachicola Chamber dated at least to 1843 possibly earlier, making it to oldest continuously operating Chamber of Commerce in the State of Florida. Now, we are looking for any documentation that can show the chamber was in existence prior to 1842. If anyone has information please contact us at the Chamber office at 850-653-9419 or email@example.com
Whatever Floats Your Boat Regatta
Saturday October 3rd
It's time once again for you to challenge your friends, your family, and your colleagues to build boats out of stuff that any normal person would take to the dump and enter them in the Whatever Floats Your Boat Regatta at the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory. Boats can be as artistic or as ugly as you want to make them. Just build 'em and they will float . . . more or less.
You landlubbers will be busy ashore cheering on the captains and crews of these outrageously constructed vessels as they sail, row, or scull around the course, topple over, or slowly sink into Apalachee Bay. Watch the Regatta from various shoreline vantage points around the lab on either side of the boat basin. Enjoy good food, have loads of fun, all while learning about recycling and how to reduce the impact of plastics in our marine environments.
October 2, 2015 to October 3, 2015 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM (ET) Port St. Joe
Make plans now to attend the Florida Scallop Festival, October 2-3, 2015 along the shore of beautiful St. Joseph Bay in Port St. Joe, Florida.
With musical artist and award winning songwriter Phil Vassar headlining the event, country music fans will want to enjoy every minute!
Now the new home of the Cape San Blas Lighthouse, George Core Park, with it's towering (and shady) pine trees, refreshing sea breezes and pictureque setting, provide the ideal location for this fall event. Art & craft vendors, educational exhibits, our popular kid zone and many great food vendors will be located throughout the park to make the two-day event and enjoyable experience for all, with sweet southern-fried scallops headlining the menu, of course!
Apalachicola Library Book Signing Author Tim Dorsey
In celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week and in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service themed and guided tours featuring guest experts are offered every day during a week in October.
Tuesday, Oct 13 - Birds - led by expert, John Murphy from the Florida Ornithological Society
Wednesday, Oct 14- Red Wolves - led by Mike Jones, Head Animal Curator at the Tallahassee Museum
Thursday, Oct 15 - Environmental Importance - led by our own Sue Cerulean, Naturalist and author of Coming to Pass
Friday, Oct 16 - digital outdoor photography - led by Marcy and Rich Trahan
Dixie Theatre & Up The Stairs Wine & Song
On Friday October 16, the Dixie Theatre and Up the Stairs present an evening of Wine & Song
Come enjoy one of this autumns most memorable events: Opici wines served with light Hors d'oeuvres from 6:15 through 7:45. At 8 PMaudience favorite Sarah Mac Band will grace the Dixie stage. Seating is limited for this intimate evening with only 70 tickets available at $60 each. Tickets may be purchased at Up the Stairs fine dining, 76 Market Street Suite F, and the Dixie Theatre Box Office, 21 Avenue E. Or simply call for reservations UTS850.653.4888 or the DIXIE850.653.3200. Don't miss this special evening of Wine & Song, it promises to be unforgettable
Bowery Station After Hours Series
Presents Comedian Mac Page
Friday Oct. 16th 9:00pm
Running for the Bay Marathon
The "Running for the bay!" Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K and Ultra 50K (all with wheelchair divisions) are races held in beautiful Apalachicola, Florida. The races are designed to bring attention to The Apalachicola Bay area, one of the most beautiful and important estuaries in America; create an avenue for charity fund raising and to promote health and fitness.
The Full Marathon and Half Marathon and Ultra 50K start in Apalachicola and head over the beautiful Apalachicola Bay to Eastpoint and St. George Island. The 10K and 5K also enjoy the local beauties of Apalachicola and the Apalachicola Bay.
The "Running for the bay!" Marathon course is USATF certified! This means the course can be used to qualify for the Boston Marathon or any other major that requires times to be set on a certified course.
Bowery Art Gallery presents
The 4th annual fall show "Falling Up and Beyond"
October 23, 2015 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM (ET) Bowery Art Gallery
Featuring works by three artists: Paintings by Sherry Cook of Newnan, Ga. & Anne Hempel of Tallahassee, as well as 3 dimensional works by Ken Richardson of St George Island. Come enjoy an evening of art, light music, and refreshments.
We invite you to come and meet the artists and spend a delightful evening in our gallery where there are over fifty artists being represented that will have new works on display as well. We look forward to seeing you here.
ANERR presents Art + Science: Works by Beth Appleton October 23, 2015 108 Island Dr., Eastpoint, FL 32328
Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve will host a new exhibit, Art + Science: Works by Beth Appleton will be on display from October 23, 2015-Februay 23, 2016. Opening reception will be Friday, October 23rd at 5:00-8:00 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Crooked River Lighthouse Lantern Fest
SGI Lighthouse Full Moon Climb
Tuesday October 27th
Climb to the top of the Cape St. George Light to watch the sunset and the rise of the full moon. The Sunset/Full Moon Climb includes light hors d'oeuvres and a sparkling cider toast to the full moon. Cost is $15.00 for the general public and $10.00 for members of the St. George Lighthouse Association. After sunset, people are invited to climb to the top of the lighthouse for a breathtaking view of the full moon, as space and time permit. Cost is $10.00 for the general public and $5.00 for SGLA members. Because space is limited, reservations are recommended. For reservations or more information, please contact the Lighthouse Gift Shop at 850-927-7745.