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Re: [ft-l] St Marks trip

At 06:42 AM 12/2/2000 -0500, you wrote:
>I enjoyed your account of the St. Marks trip. Even though I live in
>Northeast Florida, I have been there on occasion.  Can anyone tell me
>about the FT through that area?  Can you camp anywhere?  Do you have to
>let them know you are hiking thru?  Members only?

Most of the information I have is from M. Timothy O'Keefe's _Hiking
Florida_ (Falcon Publishing). The trail through the Refuge is 43 miles
long. It begins off US 319 near Medart, southwest of where the highway
splits off from US 98 towards Sopchoppy. "After only a few hundred yards on
US 319, look for a dirt road (Carraway Cut Off) on the left; you should
also spot a small Florida Trail sign on the opposite side of the road. Take
Carraway Cut Off a short distance to a small parking area." (p. 50) The
trail ends on US 98 just west of the Aucilla River bridge. 

The trail leaves the Refuge to cross the Wakulla River on US 98. It follows
the St Marks Trail (a Rails to Trails project) down to the St Marks River.
To cross the St Marks requires a pair of water wings, or the beneficence of
a local fisherman. Alternatively, you could road walk 98 to the bridge at
Newport, enter the Refuge on CR 59, and then look for where the trail
crosses. That cuts out a nice hike through the woods, though.

Regarding camping, O'Keefe says:

"Camping is permitted at six primitive sites for through hikers only. The
campsites are Marsh Point (at 4.5 miles); Wakulla Field (at 13 miles);
River Hammock (at 15 miles); East River (at 28 miles); Ring Dike (at 30
miles); and Pinhook River (at 40 miles).

"A use permit is mandatory and must be obtained by telephone, mail, or in
person at the visitor center at least fifteen days in advance. No fires are
allowed anywhere, including at the campsites, and only a single night's
stay is allowed at any one site." (p. 50)

There is also a campground at Ochlocknee River State Park, if you want to
set up there and dayhike the trail. Other areas of interest are Otter Lake
in Panacea, Fort San Marco de Apalache in St Marks, Leon Sinks Geological
Area south of Tallahassee, and Wakulla Springs State Park between
Crawfordville and Wakulla.

They are doing prescribed burns in the Refuge right now, so you will want
to make sure that parts of the trail aren't closed due to that. 

Erskine Fincher

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