florida-agriculture.com

Agriculture Press Release

July 6, 1999

Trailwalker Program Offers Incentive to Hikers

TALLAHASSEE Hiking in Floridas state forests used to offer only rewards of the personal kind: peace and quiet, the observation of nature and physical fitness. But hikers now have an opportunity to receive a tangible reward for personal efforts through a new program implemented by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The Florida State Forests Trailwalker program encourages people to explore Floridas many diverse and picturesque state forests while earning merit badges for their hiking accomplishments. By hiking 10 different trails in five different state forests and documenting the efforts in a Trailwalkers log, a hiker can earn a Trailwalker patch and certificate of achievement. By walking additional trails and visiting additional state forests a hiker can move to the next level and earn the Trailblazer patch. More trails and hiking lead to the final Trailmaster patch and T-shirt.

"The primary objectives of the program is to get people out exercising and enjoying Floridas state forests, and to provide them with an environmental learning experience," said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford.

The Trailwalker program is part of an overall forest education campaign known as "Florida Forests Forever," cosponsored by the Department and the Florida Forestry Association to heighten consumer awareness of how important forests are to our lives. It demonstrates how proper forest management can balance the need to protect the environment with the need to produce products made from trees. The Trailwalker component of the educational campaign focuses on the many recreational activities that exist in our own back yard.

"We expect the Trailwalker program to be very popular with people of all ages, as there are a variety of trails of different lengths in state forests throughout Florida," Crawford added. "In addition, we will be incorporating other popular forest recreation programs such as bird watching and nature study."

For more information and to receive a Trailwalkers guide to exploring Floridas state forests, call (850) 414-0871; write: Trailwalker Guide, Florida Division of Forestry, 3125 Conner Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1650; or visit www.trailwalker.fl-ag.com on the Internet.

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For more information:

John Waldron
(850) 414-9852
Amy Erven
(850) 414-0871

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