Do you enjoy hiking, biking, paddling or horseback riding? The Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT), within the Division of Recreation & Parks, provides statewide leadership and coordination to establish, expand and promote non-motorized trails that make up the Florida Greenways and Trails System.
The State of Florida has been building trails across the state, but in Brevard County, there’s not much enthusiasm. Why’s that? With so many communities that connect to the beaches, you’d think we’d all want a safe way to walk, hike, cycle and skate to the beach. And there’s so much already in place. In Melbourne and Eau Gallie, the causeways have consistently been a place where people gather. Cocoa Village and Tropical Trail are thriving central location for cyclists, but we have to drive to get to place where we can then enjoy healthier ways to exercise and take in the great outdoors.
The Space Coast needs to step up our game, and connect to the States greater trails and greenways efforts.
Emphasizing a commitment to a healthier lifestyle for all Floridians, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is recognizing October as Florida Greenways and Trails Month. With more than 5,000 miles of trails and 80,000 acres of greenway, Florida provides residents and visitors of all ages and abilities with year-round access to a wide variety of free health and fitness activities. Greenways and trails provide recreational opportunities, protect Florida’s natural resources, preserve historical and cultural sites and connect communities.
“Florida Greenways and Trails Month offers Floridians a chance to come together and celebrate our natural resources,” said Jena Brooks, Director DEP’s Office of Greenways & Trails. “Greenways and trails provide nature-based recreational opportunities as well as encourage use of alternative, energy-saving forms of transportation.”
Greenways protect natural resources and connect communities.
More than 100 events are taking place in more than 59 counties around the state to celebrate Florida Greenways and Trails Month, including the 13th Annual Rails to Trails Bike Ride on the Withlacoochee State Trail, the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival and an Apalachicola Canoe Trip. Events will highlight the natural beauty of Florida’s trails with equestrian rides, educational hikes and birding festivals as well as paddling excursions, running and mountain biking events.
DEP’s Office of Greenways & Trails manages eight state trails, in addition to the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, Florida’s longest green corridor stretching 110 miles from the St. Johns River near Palatka to the Gulf of Mexico near Inglis. Of the eight state trails, six are rail-trails, which are railroad corridors converted to recreational trails for hiking, biking, skating and equestrian activities. Through Florida Forever, the state’s premier land acquisition program, $4.5 million is allocated annually to purchase and preserve land for Florida’s greenways and trails.