Hiking Florida

Sandra Friend and John Keatley. The authors

The Florida Trail Guide

Learn “How To Hike the Florida Trail” from the authors of The Florida Trail Guide, Sandra Friend and John Keatley. The authors, both life members of the Florida Trail Association, will present two programs beginning at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday, April 15, 2016, in the free “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center on Sanibel Island.

The year 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the statewide Florida Trail. The husband-wife team of Friend and Keatley have updated their guidebook to the trail for the occasion, building on a strong, award-winning first edition.

“Florida is different,” says Friend. “Stretching 1,400 miles from the edge of the Everglades to Pensacola Beach, the Florida Trail is Florida’s own National Scenic Trail and one of only 11 National Scenic Trails across America. It starts in a swamp, and ends on a beach. What you’ll see in between will give you a new appreciation for natural Florida.”

Join the authors for this visual journey on how to prepare for hiking in Florida and what you’ll see along the Florida Trail, followed by an open discussion on planning your next day hike or backpacking trip.

For five years, avid hiker Friend served as communications director for the Florida Trail Association and continues to volunteer as an activity leader. Keatley’s earliest 50-mile backpacking trip was on the Florida Trail in the 1970s.

Following their presentations, the authors will sign copies of their book, which is available for purchase in the Refuge Nature Store, all proceeds of which benefit refuge wildlife and conservation and education programs.

Admission is free. Seating for the lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis. Arrive one hour early to assure seating. Early arrivals can save one seat each and then may explore the Visitor & Education Center or Indigo Trail before the lecture starts. Saved seats must be filled 15 minutes before lecture time or risk reassigning.

As usual, Wildlife Drive is closed on Friday, but visitors are welcome to enjoy the free “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center, Indigo Trail, and recreational opportunities at Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge’s official concessionaire located at its Tarpon Bay Recreation Area.

For more information, call 1-239-472-1100 ext. 241 or log on to dingdarlingsociety.org/lectures. For the schedule of the 2016 DDWS Film Series, please visit dingdarlingsociety.org/films.