Jeff your absolutely right.
The FTA and land folks have done a great job. Who would have thought Eglin would suddenly out of the blue receive the trail with open arms. :-).
Personally I like to think it was my very convincing letter to the base commander, the senators and congresspersons on the DOD committees, the governor, etc, etc..
As far as shelters - wow - your right about that too! I suppose an open sided picnic shelter is nice when the rain is heavy and sustained but other than that shelters could be an invite for trouble.
Are there many pumps on the trail? I know the "three mile"? pump in the everglades was taken out. I think it was removed by the parks dept because of the mercury levels that they say don't pose a health risk.
I have heard from some hikers that lack of water or lack of directions (signs) to water was a problem on some sections. I have seen signs on the AT miles before water telling you how much further you have to go, also seen signs that corrected the guide book stating that there was no longer water at that spot.
Like you say when the trail is complete the traffic will increase and lots won't have the local wisdom.
Sure is easy for me to come up with the questions, ain't it?
It's the solutions I have trouble with.