RAILS TO TRAILS
TRAIL UPDATE: Dianne Drye, park service specialist, reported that the work on the Interstate 75 overpass will start in August, but the trail will not be shut down. New bridge foundations will be constructed in line with the existing piles. The contractor is committed to maintaining trail access throughout construction.
Dianne also presented a program on the ADA requirements and guidelines for assistive devices on the trail. A few devices allowed include battery- perated wheelchairs and scooters, as well as 2-, 3-, and 4-wheeled segways. She cautioned everyone to remember that a physical disability is not always visible. If you see someone on the trail with a vehicle that you are not sure of, please say nothing to the person, but call the Park Service Office at 352-726-0315. If possible, take a picture of the device.
If everyone would stay to the right and be courteous as well as let people know when you are in the process of passing, it would be better for everyone. If you ever have a problem on the trail, call Dianne at the number shown above, and give her as much information as possible, such as clothing, bike, etc. Any information will help!
AWARDS: This is the time of the year that we acknowledge the service and dedication of our volunteers and the following awards were presented:
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Jerry Willert presented this award to Linda and Dennis Reiland for all of their volunteer trail work. That includes holding almost all of the positions in Rails to Trails as officers, committee chairmen and board directors, heading up the annual bike ride for many years and their continuous tireless efforts for trail improvements, both locally, regionally and statewide. They have developed manuals for items like the bike ride so that future years will be easier for those who follow them. They are both avid bike riders and include rides in their never-ending travels around the world.
GERALD CLARK AWARD
This award was created in 1994 to recognize outstanding service leaders on the trail. This year’s recipient is Dave Sullivan, who has served as a volunteer on the Wednesday Work Crew for nine years and is active with our bike ride as a SAG stop worker. He has recruited other volunteers for the trail. I hear he also serves a good breakfast!
NEW OFFICERS: The nominating committee presented a slate of officers who were elected by acclamation with terms officially beginning at the end of the April 2016 meeting. The officers are: President, Sherry Bechtel; vice-president, Rich Roussel; treasurer, Kerry Smith; board of directors, Denis Reiland, Ken Spilios, Don Zutaut and Linda Reiland.
New faces, new names and new people are always good to regenerate the group and we wish them well. We hope new ideas are in the future for Rails to Trails. Remember, the officers need our help!
ANNUAL BIKE RIDE: Planning for our annual bike ride, which will be Sunday, Oct. 2, is in full swing and we are in the process of lining up volunteers. Call Karen Counts at 586-904-3262 or write her at email@example.com if you can lend your support. Some areas needing volunteers are parking, SAG Stops, and helping with lunch, etc. You can volunteer for a few hours or all day. Our sponsors and donations are responding and we appreciate it all. All monies received go 100 percent back into improvements on the Withlacoochee State Trail. Thanks.
ONE LAST THING: Let me remind you that we entering the hot time of the year and if you are enjoying the trail, you should always bring plenty of water for hydration. Don’t depend on others for water on the trail -- you can get dehydrated in a hurry.
Al Harnage can be reached at 352-527-3263.