Tallahassee, Florida –
Touting Florida’s award-winning trails as a major tourism attraction alongside beaches, golf courses and theme parks, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Greenways and Trails today joined VISIT FLORIDA to celebrate October as Greenways and Trails Month with the launch of a new trails website. The website highlights the benefits trails provide Florida’s environment and tourism industry through healthy recreational opportunities, a reduced carbon footprint and an affordable alternative to traditional vacation activities.
“I encourage everyone to grab a bicycle, kayak or walking shoes and enjoy Florida’s natural beauty at one of the state’s more than 8,000 miles of land trails and 4,000 miles of paddling trails,” said DEP Office of Greenways and Trails Director Jena Brooks. “Florida’s trails are economic engines that welcome millions of visitors each year and we look forward to introducing millions more through the launch of this website.”
The website which launched today, www.visitflorida.com/trails, features more than 100 trails and serves as a one-stop-shop for residents and guests looking to plan an eco-vacation or simply take a day-trip down a paved or paddling trail. The website also provides a gateway to nearby businesses, outfitters, restaurants and overnight accommodations to make any trail trip complete. DEP’s Office of Greenways and Trails will serve as the continuing liaison between communities and VISIT FLORIDA for submission of new trails over time.
“The launch of this new website emphasizes the extraordinary value trails add to our state and will give travelers a taste of just how much is out there waiting for them to experience,” said VISIT FLORIDA Chief Marketing Officer Will Seccombe. “Connecting Florida’s tourism industry to visitors through their passions is the cornerstone of VISIT FLORIDA’s marketing efforts and this trails website offers a content-rich resource for those who love hiking, biking, paddling, horseback riding and birdwatching.”
The Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway and eight state-managed trails received the highest annual visitation to date in 2009 with more than four million visitors, generating an estimated economic impact of $95 million. In 2009, 67 percent of Florida visitors included nature-based activities in their vacations. The Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail, the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail and the longest segment of the East Coast Greenway are all long-distance trails that call Florida home. By offering visitors destination–rich experiences, these extended trails promote economic growth and support businesses.
“There may be no better civic investment than a long-distance trail,” noted Herb Hiller with the East Coast Greenway Alliance. “Not only do they produce tourist-generated economic results, but they also increase quality of life through health and fitness objectives while providing safe and free family recreation.”
Recognizing the many benefits of the state’s greenways and trails, Florida Governor Charlie Crist also officially proclaimed October as Greenways and Trails month. View the proclamation here:
A variety of events are also planned to recognize October as Greenways and Trails Month including bike rides, paddling events and more. To view a statewide list of events, visit: FloridaGreenwaysAndTrails.com.