Al Harnage




Well, it is still hot and we are having rainy weather, but it seems like everyone is getting along pretty good and drinking plenty of fluids and not getting overheated. Now, we also have lightning and thunder just about on a daily basis in one area or another and this can be really bad stuff. When you hear a little thunder, sometimes you do not think too much about it, but if you can hear it, you are in striking distance and can get hit. This should be taken very seriously, as it happens somewhere in Florida all the time and you do not want to be a victim. 

One other thing — if you every see a downed electric wire, stay away and always treat it as an emergency. Call “911” and report it. You could be saving your life or that of someone else.


We have a committee of four people that have been working for several months on redesigning, rethinking and gathering information to improve our website. It covers all areas of the trail, past bike rides and different sections with many pictures, etc.  We hope the new website is refreshing and exciting with information that everyone will enjoy. Go to and take a look. Thanks to all on the committee for your hard work on this project.


Work began on a 17-vehicle parking lot on  June 23, and should be completed by the end of August. It is behind the new restroom and will be accessed by Levy Court from Old Floral City Road. This will really help with the parking situation in this area.


In the past, the officers and board of directors, along with Harry Mitchell, Fort Cooper State Park manager, and Dianne Drye, trail specialist, have been meeting before the regular members meeting each quarter, but that only allowed an hour for the meeting, which did not provide enough time. Recently, they met on a Tuesday afternoon at Fort Cooper and had a real good meeting and had plenty of time to give everyone a chance to speak. As the trail gets bigger, there are more issues and things to discuss. In the future, our board meetings will be held separately and not before a regular members meeting. That should work out better for both and allow the members meeting to conclude during library hours.


With the kind of weather we are having now — rain and lightning — along with the regular summertime weather, it keeps the volunteers busy full time doing nothing but trimming and chipping! The rain makes the branches, limbs and vines so heavy that they break and lean much closer to the trail. Wind and lightning also downs trees and breaks heavy branches, many landing on or near the trail. We get calls all the time about large trees completely blocking the entire trail. No matter when this happens, we have to try to get someone out to clear the debris and get the trail open for people to use. Yes, it does happen on weekends. Most emergency calls are handled by Harry Mitchell and Dianne Drye and whoever they can get to help. They try to get it cut up enough and off the trail and then the volunteers can go back and finish the job later. A 46-mile trail never gets finished! A big help in all of this is if the equipment is running and does not break down. Thanks to everyone for their help in this hard job!


Registration for our annual bike ride is now open and you can go to and sign up, using Pay Pal and be ready to go on Oct. 2. By doing it this way, it is available 24 hours a day and there is no waiting in line. Sign up early so that you can get one of the commemorative T-shirts for this ride. As stated before, this is our only fundraiser for the trail and 100 percent of the money goes back into support, maintenance and enhancement of the trail. No one is paid a salary — we are all volunteers and we love to do it! There will also be plenty of food, snacks, lunch, drinks and a drawing for prizes of all kinds. Sign up early and come have a day of fun. 

Thanks for your comments. I can be reached at 352-527-3263.

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