Trails on the Lower Suwannee Refuge surround us with peace and quiet beauty when we need them. They give us chances to explore, observe and learn. They also remind us that insects still rule the wild. But, there are some barriers to using the trails, in addition to the insects. Lots of us find walking on uneven ground and under our own power for the length of most trails to be unrealistic.
“On July 3, I met with Andrew Gude, Manager of Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge to demonstrate the EcoRover and evaluate trails that could be used in an adaptive trackchair program at the refuge. The meeting was prompted by Boyd Kimball, board member of Friends of the Lower Suwannee & Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges https://www.friendsofrefuges.org/ and David Jones of SportsAbility Alliance https://www.fdoa.org/ .
“Two spectacular trails jump out right away. The River Trail takes us thru a beautiful cypress swamp, leading to a boardwalk that pops out on the Suwannee River. Really cool! The Dennis Creek Trail starts in the Shell Mound area and treks through estuaries north of Cedar Key, FL. Andrew Gude said, "The future possibilities are very exciting and proposed a trial event with the trackchairs in early December 2022. Bird Dog Boats has established excellent adaptive fishing from its own dock facility in Cedar Key, in operation with UF-IFAS. This trackchair program would operate about ½ hour from Cedar Key and be a very nice expansion to the adaptive recreation offered in the area.”
The Friends of the Lower Suwannee & Cedar Keys NWRs organization is delighted to be involved in this possibility and will work hard to make it happen.