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Re: [ft-l] Dan Smith

I agree with all the posts on this topic.
The biggest problem with the Florida Trail after urban development is
water - either too much or too little.
This was a particularly big-water year in South Florida.  There were even
reports of the deer drowning in the southern-most section.
It isn't pleasant to hike through waist-deep water.  At best, it can turn a
lot of people away from the FT.  At worst it can endanger their lives.
We ARE making progress on bridges and boardwalks in many areas.

All this being said, we are starting to get some thru-hikers here on the FT
and it concerns me that we are also starting to get a bad rep among the
long-distance hiking commmunity from their journals.  Nimblewill Nomad's
account of his first day on the trail was broadcast over the internet to
many hiking lists and I think will scare many hikers away from considering
hiking the FT, even with his acknowledgement that it was a particularly wet
year.  The long-distance hiking community is a small and close knit group.
Word travels very quickly throughout it's members.

As Fred points out, Big Cypress National Preserve themsleves requested that
the Oasis Ranger Station be made the southern terminus of the FNST and the
board agreed and changes were made to the hiking guide to reflect that.  The
area south of there is not FNST, but FT.  STILL, long-distance hikers come
to hike the whole FT, not just the portions designated NST.  I am never an
advocate of simply abandoning trail, but I don't think the FTA can afford
the bad rep we are getting among hikers throughout the country at this stage
in our trail development.  Perhaps the section below Oasis could remain as a
trail segment and a greater PR effort be made in our maps and literature
designating Oasis the southern terminus of the entire FT System.  Or remove
the Loop Road to Oasis section from the thru-trail maps and put it in with
the loop and side trails.

What do the rest of you think?

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