Miccosukee Greenway offers daily dose of Vitamin N

January 19th, 2016 by Red Hills

Winter morning hike at Miccosukee Greenway by Georgia Ackerman

by Georgia Ackerman, published in Tallahassee Democrat 1/4/16

A daily dose of vitamin N is good for the body and mind. Embracing nature and the great outdoors offers numerous positive physical and mental health benefits, especially during the potentially hectic holiday season. Ample health research backs up the claim that a walk in the woods is good for you. A morning visit to the Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway with local walkers, runners and cyclists also supports this assertion. Comprising over 500 acres of forest and pastureland with 17 miles of multi-use trails, this public green space parallels Miccosukee Road from Fleischmann to Crump Road. There are several parking areas along the trail for easy access. Most parking locations offer ample room for horse trailers, too. The entrance near Thornton Road includes a wide-open area ideal for flying kites on sunny winter days.

Shortly after sunrise on a recent chilly morning, a few greenway regulars embarked on their daily nature hike. Cousins Eva Jones Walker and Para Ivey, who both grew up in Tallahassee walk “every single day rain or shine,” according to Walker. Christie Koontz joins Walker and Ivey frequently. The trio met on the trail last year and became friends. Koontz claimed, “The greenway trails have pulled me though illness and heartache, brought daily health and joy, and new walking friends.  I am often reunited with old running pals. I am a greenway junkie!”

Moving at a brisk pace along the main trail near the Crump Road entrance, the three women passed Mary and Steve Fannin and their happy, fluffy dog Quincy. Coming from the opposite direction, the Fannins traveled an interior trail loop. Everyone smiled and offered a quick “good morning.” For six years, the Fannins have walked the Miccosukee Greenway several times weekly. They enjoy experiencing the change of seasons announced by migratory birds and transforming flora.  “We’ve seen deer, foxes, and fox squirrels as we are walking. All of this, and the stories of jaguarundi sightings, keep bringing us back to this refuge,” said Steve Fannin.

According to Dawn Griffin, a volunteer with the Apalachee Chapter of the Florida Trail Association, the relatively flat, gravel surface on the main trail of the Miccosukee Greenway is ideal for brisk walking. The group organizes weekday rambles on area trails including Leon County’s greenways. Collectively, they’ve walked 12,000 miles in the past three years since its inception. Griffin stated that greenway hike participants “walk, socialize, de-stress and burn calories.” During the winter season, the walkers look like “lightning bugs with our flashlights” as they return to the parking area after the evening group walk.

So, go take a hike, breathe in the winter air and explore your Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway. Chances are you will see some wildlife, burn off calories and maybe, even make a new friend.

For maps and details on Leon County’s public greenways, visit http://cms.leoncountyfl.gov/Home/Departments/Public-Works/Parks-and-Recreation/Greenways

To join a local hike with the Florida Trail Association visit www.apalachee.floridatrail.org/

Georgia Ackerman coordinates the Red Hills Initiative at Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy. For more information visit www.redhillsregion.org 

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