Exploring an Old Railroad Grade in Goethe State Forest

Hiking in Florida offers so many peeks into our history. Florida Trail Blazer Is an expert at finding these places.

Florida Trailblazer

Trestle Trestle

There is an old railroad grade that cuts through part of Goethe State Forest and dates back to at least the early 1900’s. The railroad was once part of the Seaboard Coast Line and then later became the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad.

As I explored along it for several miles I saw various remnants related to the railroad. Things like railroad spikes, markers, pipes, railroad ties, poles and even a couple of old trestles.

The trestles were fascinating to see one was larger than the other and both in relatively decent condition for how old they are. The larger one I was unsure about crossing and it didn’t appear to be very stable. I was really careful when exploring around that one but managed to get across it. The smaller trestle you can walk across with no problem at all. I was able to get underneath both of them to…

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A Sad Spring

Many of you who have camped with us and even some who have hiked have had a chance to meet our camp dog Bo

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Bo, a Rhodesian Ridgeback/Mastiff mix was one of the “founders” of NAC. Almost never missing a camp or hike in his prime. He was a rescue through Ridgeback Rescue and we were so blessed to have him join our family. Bo came to have his own “fan base” and was dearly loved and loved freely in return.


Sadly in March Bo, who was now nearly 16 years old , was laid to rest. Our hearts ache knowing we will not have our hiking buddy near any longer and we want to thank him for his years of loyal service.


Happy Trails Bo! Thank you for all the joy, companionship and love you gave so freely over the years!

Bo Napping

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The differences or similarities of Ecotourism-vs-Geotourism

Crowley CreekEcotourism – The Definition

Ecotourism is now defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education” (TIES, 2015).  Education is meant to be inclusive of both staff and guests.

 

Principles of Ecotourism

Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement, participate in and market ecotourism activities should adopt the following ecotourism principles:

  • Minimize physical, social, behavioral, and psychological impacts.
  • Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
  • Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
  • Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
  • Generate financial benefits for both local people and private industry.
  • Deliver memorable interpretative experiences to visitors that help raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climates.
  • Design, construct and operate low-impact facilities.
  • Recognize the rights and spiritual beliefs of the Indigenous People in your community and work in partnership with them to create empowerment.

Click Here to read the full articles announcing the revisions.

Source: https://www.ecotourism.org/what-is-ecotourism

 

Geotourism is defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.

Geotourism incorporates the concept of sustainable tourism—that destinations should remain unspoiled for future generations—while allowing for ways to protect a place’s character. Geotourism also takes a principle from its ecotourism cousin,—that tourism revenue should promote conservation—and extends it to culture and history as well, that is, all distinctive assets of a place.

The Geotourism Charter: Governments and allied organizations that sign this statement of principles take a first step in adopting a geotourism strategy.Download the Geotourism Charter (PDF). After committing to a geotourism strategy, signatories then work with local communities to determine their geotourism goals.

What Is Sustainable Tourism?

Sustainable tourism, like a doctor’s code of ethics, means “First, do no harm.” It is the foundation for destination stewardship.

Sustainable tourism protects its product-the destination. It avoids the “loved to death” syndrome by anticipating development pressures and applying limits and management techniques that preserve natural habitats, heritage sites, scenic appeal, and local culture.

It conserves resources. Environmentally aware travelers patronize businesses that reduce pollution, waste, energy consumption, water usage, landscaping chemicals, and excessive nighttime lighting.

It respects local culture and tradition. Foreign visitors learn local etiquette, including at least a few courtesy words in the local language. Residents learn how to deal with foreign expectations that may differ from their own.

It aims for quality, not quantity. Destinations measure tourism success not just by numbers of visitors, but by length of stay, how they spend their money, and the quality of their experience.

What Is Geotourism?

Geotourism adds to sustainability principles by building on a destination’s geographical character, its “sense of place,” to emphasize the distinctiveness of its locale and benefit visitor and resident alike.

Geotourism is synergistic: All the elements of geographical character work together to create a tourist experience that is richer than the sum of its parts, appealing to visitors with diverse interests.

It involves the community. Local businesses and civic groups join to provide a distinctive, authentic visitor experience.

It informs both visitors and hosts. Residents discover their own heritage by learning that things they take for granted may be interesting to outsiders. As local people develop pride and skill in showing off their locale, tourists get more out of their visit.

It benefits residents economically. Travel businesses hire local workers, and use local services, products, and supplies. When community members understand the benefits of geotourism, they take responsibility for destination stewardship.

It supports integrity of place. Destination-savvy travelers seek out businesses that emphasize the character of the locale. In return, local stakeholders who receive economic benefits appreciate and protect the value of those assets.

It means great trips. Enthusiastic visitors bring home new knowledge. Their stories encourage friends and relatives to experience the same thing, which brings continuing business for the destination.

Source: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/sustainable/about_geotourism.html

 

So what is the real difference – you have to decide. Both sides of this comparison do good, educate and encourage sustainable tourism.  We are just here to encourage you to take a few moments and consider these points when booking your next adventure or vacation.

See you on the trail!

Jeanene

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Learning New Skills with the Ladies

Each year all over the USA there are Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshops. These workshops are wonderful for introducing new skills to adventurous women of all ages. This year I was helping teach a number of freshwater fishing classes.

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Day one  started out very at a very chilly for Florida 24  degrees. After spending the night tent camping I was grateful to have my MK Stagecoach Jacket to wear to fend off the cooler temps. The hand warmer pockets were put to good use!

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Class 1 was pan fishing. We talked about line, rods, reels most of the ladies were familiar -the big questions were how do I tie on my own hook and how do a take a fish off the hook.

This did not surprise me. So many of the ladies had gone fishing with the Dad or brothers growing up. The thing that troubled them was why did they never get taught to do these things! Tying knots is simple enough. and learning how to remove a hook from a fish, though a dirty job is something every fisherman should know. So fellas – teach your sisters, daughters and girlfriends everything – so they are well prepared to enjoy the sport of fishing even when you are not around.

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We received the same responses from the Bass Fishing class participants as well. All the women from both classes had no trouble casting, most even know about the lures and bait. I must say it felt great leaving with 30+ more ladies heading out with all the skills they need to be able to go fishing on their own.

MK Stagecoach Jacket

By the end of the weekend many of the ladies were sporting their new MK Organic Tee’s (won as door prizes) and thanking all the wonderful volunteer instructors for taking the time to teach them new and useful skills.

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Watch out fellas….these gals just may out fish you!

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Hiking in Winter… in Florida

Winter is not one of the “prettiest” months to hike in Florida – but the weather is perfect! If you know where to look there are small surprises everywhere!

Winter Mushroom

During a recent hike at Brooker Creek Headwaters Preserve we found a number of flowers in bloom. Toothpetal False Rein Orchids (Habenaria floribunda) were popping up everywhere under the pines. We was dozens of them!

Toothpetal False Rein Orchids (Habenaria floribunda)

Pink Sundew (Drosera capillaris) were starting emerge from the damp earth and the abundance of them is much greater than in years past. Another month or two the ground should be covered with them!

Pink Sundew (Drosera capillaris)

The biggest surprise for me was seeing how the Hooded Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia minor) are spreading – they are all out in the middle of the trail/road now when once they were hidden and very limited in numbers. I am hoping they do not take them out when they mow the property! Hooded pitcher plant is listed as a Threatened Plant in the Preservation of Native Flora of Florida Act. This is defined as species of plants native to the state that are in rapid decline in the number of plants within the state, but which have not so decreased in such number as to cause them to be endangered.

Hooded Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia minor)

We were also pleased to see many Orange Milkwort (Polygala lutea) coming up along the wetlands portion of the trail.

Orange Milkwort (Polygala lutea)

As the Pine Lilies from Late Oct. faded away along the scrub, we searched for another beauty and found plenty of Sabatia (Sabatia brevifolia)

Sabatia (Sabatia brevifolia)

“This property includes a mosaic of forested swamps, floodplains and low-lying uplands. The uplands include pine flatwoods, xeric oak hammocks, and mixed hardwood and pine prairies. Since 1993, Hillsborough County staff has performed a number of resource inventories that identified an abundance of wildlife and vegetation, some of which are considered threatened or endangered. For this reason, recreational activities on the property are limited to walking and hiking.”

When hiking these trails please remember that many of the trails that are noted as “seasonally wet” are oftentimes under water. There are not restrooms or water so come prepared! It is very important to practice the principles Leave No Trace when hiking this very special place.

Dogs are permitted ON LEASH ONLY! You must clean up after your pet for everyone’s enjoyment.

To learn more about the fabulous selection of endangered and native plants visit http://naturecoast.fnpschapters.org/

For a guided hike please contact Jeanene at Not a Clue Adventures http://www.notaclueadventures.com/

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First Day Hikes offered by Florida State Parks

Start Your New Year With a First Day Hike

Kids having fun outside

Kids having fun outside

~Visit a Florida State Park on New Year’s Day and take part in a hiking extravaganza.~   

On Thursday, January 1, state park visitors around the nation will take part in an initiative to start their year off by getting healthy and outdoors. As part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes, many of Florida’s state parks are offering hiking opportunities on New Year’s Day. The hikes provide an opportunity for family and friends to get outside and start their new year in a healthy way. The hikes will be guided by park staff and volunteers, who will also provide educational information along the routes.

Hiking is a great way to get active and Florida’s state parks provide many hiking trails that are available throughout the year for all levels of expertise. The Florida Park Service would like to remind all those participating in the First Day Hike of 2015 to arrive dressed appropriately with sturdy shoes or boots and to bring water, healthy snacks, a hat, sunglasses and any other items you may want for your hike.

There are more than 30 hiking events taking place throughout Florida. See a full list below:

Northwest

Northeast

Central

Southwest

Southeast

Other Important News

Mobile App for Smartphones Plan your state park adventures using the new Pocket Ranger® app for your smartphone.The FREE Florida State Parks Pocket Ranger® mobile app is available now on iTunes, Android Market and PocketRanger.com.

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2014 in review

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO CHECK OUT OUR BLOG. 2014 WAS SLOW FOR WRITING – BUT YOU HUNG IN THERE WITH US! THANK YOU!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 57 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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