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Florida Trail: Hwy 331 Expansion Project

In 2013 the middle of Walton County, Florida had three expansion projects underway, continued in 2014. A new segment of the Florida National Scenic Trail (FNST) removed two miles from a road walk along busy U.S. Hwy. 331. The new trail is in the forest, making it a safer and more scenic route.

Making a New Section

As Florida Trail Association (FTA) volunteers worked on the new section set to open in June, 2014, my role was to understand and document the process. See the 12-minute movie on YouTube or Vimeo.

In the video, on the opening day hike, questions arise about how the trail got here, where did it come from? After showing what it took to construct, build, cut, and clear the trail corridor, flashbacks explore eight steps constituting 80% of the total work going on for the last five years. Starting in 2009, Tom Daniel and other volunteers from the FTA Choctawhatchee chapter seeded the idea in their contact with Eglin AFB, who owns the land.

The expanded trail route stretches for two miles north of Owl's Head Rd. The south end is a trailhead on the west side of Hwy 331 where the trail crosses the highway to the east. This junction is 9.2 miles south of I-10 and 5.2 miles north of SR 20, Freeport.The north end is on the west side of US 331 at Eglin Range Rd. 205, which is Segrest Rd. on Google map. Google Earth's label is Co Hwy 282 AKA Site C-6 Cutoff. The intersection sign says "Eglin Site C6". See maps page.

Workday details and photos appear on Meetup, a web site where many FTA chapters post events and discussions. During this project I've made many short movies of hikes and works.

Meetup events

Vimeo thumbnail for 331 Expansion teaser

Movies

Related

FTA trail work is one of three expansion projects in the area. Concurrently, US 331, including the bridge over Choctawhatchee Bay, is being widened from two to four lanes. Also the Florida Trail expansion section avoids two bridge underpasses for wildlife, called the Eglin-Nokuse linkage or eco-passage. The eco-passage links Eglin Air Force Base Wildlife Management Area with the Nokuse Plantation wildlife conservation areas. Florida Trail hikers link Eglin and Nokuse too, but on their own path. See U.S. Highway 331, Eglin-Nokuse Eco-Passage and Florida Trail Expansion Tiny Teaser.

These views of the Florida National Scenic Trail are from NW Florida, the panhandle. Back to Florida National Scenic Trail views.

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