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[ft-l] Cross Florida Greenway Alert - followup

I attended the meeting in Santos last night about the Cross Florida Greenway, 
which turned out to be an overcrowded, heated affair, with the equestrians 
and hunters battling it out. Judy Trotta asked me to put in a few words for 
the hikers, so I did. I focused on keeping the corridor open and accessible 
for hiking, camping, and backpacking 365 days a year, 24 hours a day

I'd like to encourage ALL of you to write to the Office of Greenways & Trails 
AND the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission during this open comment period. 
Your letter must reach Tallahassee by March 9th.  Here's WHY:

The Office of Greenways & Trails brought a draft proposal of rules and 
regulations intended to control certain activities within the Greenway. Three 
public forums this week, along with your written comments, will determine how 
they proceed. I feel the following proposed rules are of greatest concern to 
us FTA members:

(14) User Fees
(c) The office shall establish standard user fees...

(19) Camping is prohibited on Greenway property except in designated camping 
areas and sites as authorized by the office

(24) Hours
(a) The opening and closing hours for each Greenway facility shall be posted. 
No person shall remain at any Greenway facility after closing unless properly 
registered as an overnight visitor or in posession of a valid after hours 
permit from the Office. Said permits may be obtained from the Greenway office 
where such after hours use is offered.

These new rules could mean they require backpacking / camping permits, which 
I personally am firmly against, unless specifically for large group camping. 
As a long distance hiker who encourages out of state hikers to come enjoy our 
trail, I find the existing permit process in some areas (such as Green Swamp) 
to be problematic, as a long distance hiker generally has no idea where they 
are going to end up camping each night, and has little access to phones and 
mail to be able to arrange the pickup of a permit, even if it is free. If you 
compare OUR trail to the other National Scenic Trails, we are the only trail 
where a STATE requires permits to camp in certain places along the trail. On 
the Appalachian Trail, only the Federal Government requires permits, and they 
set up ranger stations along the trail in the Great Smoky Mountains and 
Shenandoah Natl Parks to make it possible to pick up the permit on foot.

Please write to:
Samantha Browne
Office of Greenways and Trails
Douglas Building, MS 795
3900 Commonwealth Blvd
Tallahassee, FL 32399-3000

Separately, the Fish and Wildlife People talked about their Wildlife 
Management District Plans. It appears that they have their eye on converting 
some of the newly purchased Greenway lands to WMD lands on the corridor NORTH 
of SR 200, which is where it appears our Western Corridor trail will be 
headed from SR 200 to the Withlacoochee River. I urge you to write them to 
remind them that we are recreational users as well, and wish to have open 
access to the land even during hunting season, as we do down in the Three 
Lakes / Prairie Lakes WMD.  Their address is:

Dennis David, Regional Director
FL Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
1239 Southwest 10th Street
Ocala FL 34474