The Florida Trail Association is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, volunteer organization headquartered in Gainesville Florida. The Florida Trail was first envisioned by Jim Kern who, as a young man hiked the Appalachian Trail. He wondered why his home state of Florida didn't have something like that and began to work to make it happen. In 1967 he and some friends hiked and blazed a trail in the Ocala National Forest and dubbed it the Florida Trail, and in 1968 he founded the Florida Trail Association. In 1983 Congress enacted a law creating the Florida National Scenic Trail, the FNST. At that time it became one of eight National Scenic Trails in the United States, which included the Appalation Trail and Pacific Crest Trail among others. Beginning with that small section of trail in the Ocala National Forest, the FNST today stretches 1300 miles from its beginning in Fort Pickens in the panhandle of Florida to its terminus in the Big Cyprus in south Florida The FNST has and is being built and maintained by thousands of volunteers in eighteen Florida Trail chapters across the state of Florida, of which Western Gate is but one. For more information go to the Florida Trail association's home page
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