2017 January

The Appalachian Trail Club of Florida meeting was held at the Sarasota Botanical Gardens on Wednesday, January 18, 2017.

Following a potluck dinner, our President Alan Roddy called the meeting to order at 7:09 pm.

Our treasurer, Libby Tyner, stated that after receiving 15 membership dues and donations, the treasury has $378.54. She has patches for sale at $3.00 each or 3/$9.00. She reminded people that membership dues ($16/family/year) are now due.

Grace Tyner updated the roster and reports that there were no returns to the monthly email newsletter.

Member, Sara Zavos corresponded with the Department of the Interior about the possibility of spreading the norovirus virus on the AT because of lack of privies. According to the reply, there are privies all along the AT, except for two shelters. There is also a “Leave no trace” policy that calls for hikers to bury human waste in catholes. Even though her research did not agree with there being only two shelters without privies, she was happy to announce that the DOI, did respond to her letter. She also stated that she bumped into Frank and Sheila Jarnos, members of the club, and their daughter from Japan.

Linda Franzmann states that the turnout at the Oscar Scherer All Trails Days was low, only about 20 people and only one from our club.

Dennis Blanchard, Program Chair, stated he planned on completing his cross-country bicycle ride starting in June and then to walk with Jane Blanchard on the Via Francigena in Italy in August. He then introduced the guest speaker, Paula Benshoff, the author of Myakka. She was a Myakka River State Park employee for 33 years and spoke about the “Hiking Myakka Trails and More.

  • Myakka is one of Florida’s oldest state parks and is Florida’s only wild scenic river.
  • Myakka has 37,000 acres and 39 miles of trails, four looped.
  • The main trail is white blazed and the spur trails are blue blazed.
  • The dry prairies need burning every two years to maintain the ecosystem which includes the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow and the Caracara, an imperiled bird species.
  • Ms. Benshoff gave instructions on how to read the Myakka aerial map, indicating which were oak trees, pine trees, prairies, swamps, and depression marshes.
  • She talked about the Canopy Walkway, which is unique to Myakka and 25′ high and 76′ long to the observation tower.
  • Park fee is $6/vehicle up to 8 people.
  • There are four venomous snakes: rattler, coral, cottonmouth, and another. She said if you walk, the snakes will sense your presence and leave the areal, as do the alligators.
  • The only poisonous plant is Poison Ivy.

Alan Roddy gave the speaker a club patch and said that next months speaker is Linda Franzmann who will review her hike from 25 years ago.

Respectfully submitted, Jane V. Blanchard