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[ft-l] Trailfest and Trail Days



Pam Glass and I hosted an FTA booth at TrailFest in Hot Springs, NC this
past weekend.  Looking at the displays that FTA has available and at our
target audience Pam and I elected to create a new display for the booth.  It
consists mostly of photos of typical Florida Trail scenes from among those I
had taken for Trail Inventory and Pam printed them out and prepared the
display.  They were beautiful - thanks Pam - and I hope got across the idea
to potential FT hikers that the FNST is NOT all swamp tromp!

The purpose of the booth was two-fold.  General PR and getting across to
potential long-distance hikers that they need to contact the FTA Office
during the planning stages of their hike.  Or maybe it would be better to
say that they NEED to plan their FT hike rather than just show up and start
walking.

On the first goal I think the weekend was very successful - about 200 people
who didn't know Florida even had a trail now know something about it and
know how to get more info. About 50 of the people I spoke with were part- or
full-time Florida residents and didn't know anything about the trail!  We
really need to get more PR going here at home!!!!

On the second goal - spreading the word among the long-distance hiking
community - we were helped tremendously by the fact that Earl Schaffer set
up between our booth and that of ALDHA and Nimblewill Nomad spent most of
the afternoon in our booth, talking with hikers about the Florida Trail and
signing his books.  He was a great asset.  I talked with 4 hikers who are
definitely interested in coming down to Florida next year for a thru-hike
attempt.

Pam and I were so pleased with the response that we will be hosting an FTA
booth at Trail Days in Damascus VA May 18-19.  With Deborah Stewart-Kent's
blessing I'll be trying to get Nimblewill to base himself in our booth once
again.  Since this will be a volunteer effort on my part, not staff time, I
have to limit my days in the booth to Friday and Saturday.  I'd also like to
see a little bit of the festival myself and meet with some of my '98 alumni
thru-hikers, so if any FTA members are planning on attending Trail Days and
could help out in the booth for an hour or more on Friday or Saturday,
please contact me.  I'll provide the booth, display, handouts, comfortable
chairs, ice water and snacks for the weekend. All you have to do is "talk
trail" to bunches of hikers.

Deb Blick
Trail Inventory Coordinator
Florida Trail Association