An Update from Jim Kern

Lots happening, all of it good. On September 20, Florida Governor Rick Scott issued a resolution at his cabinet meeting, praising the Florida Trail Association for 50 years of constructing and maintaining the Florida Trail.

We have been working most of the late summer and into the fall on producing a revised website for the Friends of the Florida Trail. Now we have something to brag about. If you haven’t seen it lately, please take a look— You will also notice a much more active presence on Facebook, which will continue.


On September 20, Emelia Hirschner’s excellent article on closing the gaps in the Florida Trail, “Path To Completion,” appeared in the St. Augustine Record. The following week it was picked up by its sister publication, the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville.

Last weekend, Oct 20-23, the Florida Trail Association celebrated its 50th anniversary in Deland. A wonderful atmosphere prevailed. Several representatives of the U.S. Forest Service were there to extend their appreciation for all that our volunteers do to maintain the trail. A highlight of Saturday evening was a program given by two young men from Warrior Hike, They thanked us that the trail exists because their program that deals with PTSD puts vets on a long hike with companions and appropriate leadership. Their hike must be at least 1200 miles long. They have just started using the Florida Trail and were there to thank us, it was very special.

The Florida Trail Association has also arranged with the FDOT for a historical marker honoring the founding of the Florida Trail. The statue is to be erected at Clearwater Campground in Ocala National Forest. A ceremony will be held Saturday, October 29. It was exactly 50 years ago to the day that I dramatized the idea of a long trail through Florida by beginning a 165-mile hike from the Tamiami Trail north to Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring. We have come so far over the years, but still have a ways to go. With ongoing support, we will continue our mission until the trail is completely done.

– Jim