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[ft-l] Myakka State Forest report

Date: Sa 29 Dec 2001, Activity: hiking
Location: Myakka State Forest, North Port, FL
          South Loop Trail & North Loop Trail
Miles: 12.8 (7.4 South & 5.4 North)
Weather: sunny & breezy, low to mid 70s

The trails are all multi-use fireroads (double-track) with no noticeable
elevation changes.  The trail surface is mostly grass and well packed
sand, with some soft sand in spots.  The grass would make mountain
biking a little tougher, but it's great for hiking.  I completed both
loops in 3:35, a pace of 3.6 mph.  Most of the trail is through pine
flatwoods, although there are a few areas of paririe hammock on the
south loop.  Most of the trail is parallelled by fresh firebreak, making
the trail clearing almost 15 feet wide and leaving almost no shade.  The
trail is marked by arrow shaped signs at all intersections, except the
one on the south loop near the southwest corner of the forest.  This is
also the site of the only bridge, a 4 or 5 foot wide boardwalk over a
creek several feet below.  The trail juctions in a "Y" shape, with the
bridge rounding off the corner the hiker is rounding.  This is the
planned site for a trail shelter, according to the SWFWMD map, along
with another one on the north loop and 5 backpacker sites.  There is no
camping in the forest until these sites open.  There is no water in the
forest and no facilities other than a porta-john at the trailhead.  The
trailhead is about a mile inside the entrance down a sand road not
nearly as flat as the trails (understandable considering it's use by
vehicle traffic), although nothing a street car couldn't handle easily. 
The park entrance is on River Road about nine miles south of I-75 (exit

John F. Meyer, Jr.          jfm@johnmeyer.net          www.johnmeyer.net