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Owl Pine/Juniper Prairie Wilderness Trail Maintenance_Jan. 2020

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Owl Pine Camp

1108 Reynolds Road

DeLeon Springs, FL 32130

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Join the Black Bear Chapter of the FTA in a week of work in the Juniper Prairie Wilderness on the Ocala National Forest, between Rt. 40 and Pat's Island. The Wilderness is a unique part of the Florida Trail and it is maintained with hand tools only, bringing a legacy of skill and hard work to each day. This project has a very long history and it is a great place to meet up with old friends, make new friends, and enjoy some fine Florida winter weather.

The Juniper Prairie Wilderness in the Ocala National Forest is a complex mosaic of ancient scrub forests, pine islands and broad, open prairies where wildlife thrives. Nearby, Hidden Pond is a favorite local getaway and a jewel of the Ocala National Forest.

This wilderness was also the inspiration for Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’s breakthrough novel the Yearling (1938), which describes Florida’s wilderness and the common themes which revolved around the settling of America. This book was later adapted into the 1946 movie of the same title, starring Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman, Claude Jarman, Jr., Chill Wills and Forrest Tucker.

As a designated and federally protected wilderness, the Juniper Prairie Wilderness has been virtually untouched by humans where visitors take only memories and leave only footprints. Here, backpackers and day-hikers alike can still experience the pristine wilderness as described Rawlings’s book.

Don’t miss out on this unique volunteer experience! Crews will perform moderate trail maintenance in the Ocala Forest, and volunteers should expect to hike over 4 miles a day. We will be working mostly on the south half of Juniper Prairie Wilderness. Because of the Wilderness designation, all of the trail maintenance work is done with hand tools, no power tools are used. Much of the trail is through old burned areas with lots of encroaching scrub oak that needs to be lopped. Most of the dead trees have already fallen, but there are still a few trees that must be removed.

Camping is at Owl Pine Camp in DeLeon Springs and we will commute to the Ocala each day.

Hiking boots and long pants are required. Long-sleeve t-shirts are recommended.

This event is a free volunteer opportunity. Join our crew and have fun!

More information on volunteering at this work party HERE.

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Owl Pine Camp

1108 Reynolds Road

DeLeon Springs, FL 32130

View Map

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