Doing the usual bounces across the state, I’ve been to the friendly rural berg of Blountstown twice in the past week. For those of you not in the know, it’s the seat of Calhoun County and perched above the Apalachicola River right where SR 20 crosses over into Central Time from Bristol.
The first visit was to join in the Blountstown Chamber of Commerce 60th Annual Dinner, where I, along with fellow FTA staff, helped to answer questions about the Trail. Mike DeWitt drove up from Tampa to see Willard & Linda Smith receive the Citizen of the Year Award for their hard work on the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement and to generally be there for the community – and he was quoted more than once by the Chamber president!
The second trip was this past weekend for the grand opening of the Blountstown Greenway. This new paved trail from Sam Atkins Park to the Landing brought out hundreds of community members to walk, bike, skate, and ride in wagons to test out their trail.
Festooned with balloons, the Old Depot on Pear Street was party central and our Florida Trail booth was right in the center of it all. It was great to see folks look at our map and connect their new trail as a part of the whole Florida Trail.
Joe and Ron from the Panhandle Chapter showed up and helped with the booth, and I managed a hike down to the landing with Janette from the FTA Suncoast Chapter and Marti Vickery, Chamber of Commerce go-getter who got the media in for some great TV coverage.
It was a very long and tiring day but did everything we all hoped would happen: connect the community with the trail. A job well done to the many, many folks who worked on this for nearly a decade to help it become reality.