When we attended the grand opening of the Dunnellon Trail earlier this year, we were glad to see a new paved trail option for cyclists in Marion County. As a long-time Ocala resident, it troubled me that although our county’s comprehensive plan called for a network of bike trails, all I ever saw built were standard-width sidewalks posted with bike signs and striped with yellow paint to make lanes: not exactly a bike path.
Things are changing for the better. Tonight marks the first public meeting regards a planned bike path to be added to the recreational mix on the Cross Florida Greenway between Pruitt Trailhead and Santos Trailhead. Except in places where all trails merge, the proposed route will not plop pavement on the existing routes of the Florida Trail, the mountain bike trails, or the equestrian trails.
Providing a “bike through the forest” experience – which we’ve greatly enjoyed in our own backyard through the Gemini Springs Addition – will coax more people outdoors who might have been reluctant to wander out into the woods. It also provides a safe place for new cyclists to try out their skills, and families to take their kids out on a ride. As we’ve seen at Gemini Springs and along Lake Okeechobee, walkers and runners will follow. A shaded path with a stable surface encourages people to get out and exercise.
To learn more about this project and to attend this evening’s meeting – held at the Santos Sheriff Station from 6-8 PM along US 27/301/441 in Santos – see the information on this public notice.