Monday, September 28, 2009

October is Greenways & Trails Month

From DEP:


~Greenways and trails celebrate record-setting year of visitation~

TALLAHASSEE –The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Office of Greenways & Trails (OGT) invites residents and visitors to celebrate Florida's natural beauty this October during Greenways & Trails Month by enjoying a healthy outdoor activity at one of the state's more than 8,000 miles of land trails and 4,000 miles of paddling trails. During the 2008-2009 fiscal year, Florida's greenways and trails welcomed an unprecedented number of visitors, more than 3.5 million, underscoring the value of these attractions for Florida's recreation and tourism industries.

"Greenways and trails not only offer nature-based recreation and alternative, energy-saving transportation routes, but also have far-reaching economic benefits," said Jena Brooks, Director of DEP's Office of Greenways & Trails. "With visitation numbers up nearly 600,000 from the previous fiscal year, Florida's award-winning system of greenways and trails are increasingly attracting visitors from around the world that support the state's tourism industry."

Recent visitation numbers also show that longer trails are becoming a popular part of the greenways and trails system. Though still in development, the 106-mile, OGT-managed Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail attracted 1.1 million visitors during the 2008-2009 fiscal year, an increase of nearly double the more than 637,000 visitors in the previous fiscal year.

At the other end of the state, five counties have come together to create the 260-mile St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop through northeast-central Florida, to be completed in time for the 2013 celebration of the 500th anniversary of Spain's arrival in Florida. The potential of long-distance and loop trails to offer destination experiences, complete with the growth of supporting businesses, adds another dimension to the future of Florida's greenways and trails.

Recognizing the many benefits of the state's greenways and trails, Florida Governor Charlie Crist officially proclaimed October as Greenways and Trails month. More than 100 events throughout the state will take place during the month long celebration, highlighting the value of Florida's greenways and trails as an affordable, and accessible source of recreation, providing health benefits and an effective boost to Florida's tourism.

For a complete list of events, ranging from group bike rides and fall festivals to buddy walks and paddling events, visit

To view the Governor's Greenways and Trails Month proclamation, go to

Florida has been named by American Trails as "Best Trails State in America," recognizing DEP's Office of Greenways & Trails for its vision and leadership, which includes community assistance, land acquisition, public outreach and the management of eight state trails and the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway. The Greenway is 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, equestrian activities and alternative transportation.

For more information about Florida's trails, visit

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