The Legacy Trail
Sarasota County, Florida


Sunset Behind Dona Bay Bridge
Photo: Megan Donoghue
(click to enlarge)

Sunset From Dona Bay Bridge
Photo: Darryl Lang
Click to Enlarge

Bobcat Family on The Trail
Photo: Denise Arthur

Birthday Celebration for US 41 Bridge - 5 Years Old!

Farmers Market Director Phil Pagano (left) and Sarasota City
Commissioner Suzanne Atwel (in pink) visit the FLT
tent at the Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market

It's a Gator on
The Trail!

Build It and They Will Come

A Video About The Legacy Trail Extension
by Joel Calabrese

Update on The Legacy Trail Bridge
Over Laurel Road - 11/8/16

Pedaled Pete Returns!

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Upcoming Trail Closures

From Megan Donoghue

The sidearm mower will begin on The Legacy Trail starting Monday, May 22.
1 TO 3 MILE SECTIONS WILL BE CLOSED FOR PERIODS OF 1 TO 5 DAYS, MONDAY-FRIDAY 7:00 AM 2:00 PM.
OPEN ON WEEKENDS. SCHEDULE IS TENTATIVE AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

Beginning May 22 — Culverhouse Nature Park to Central Sarasota Parkway
Beginning on or near May 25— Sections from Central Sarasota Parkway to Oscar Scherer State Park
Beginning on or near May 30— Sections from Oscar Scherer State Park to Laurel Road
Beginning on or near June 1— Sections from Laurel Road to the Venice Train Depot

Monday, May 22 will also be the start of a County Fiber Optic project.  It should not affect much of the trail, but there may be temporary closures, and I will provide dates and times when I know more.

Check back here for updates to the schedule.  You may also be notified of schedule updates via our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram sites.


Protecting Gopher Tortoises & Their Burrows

by Roger Normand

Sarasota County is marking gopher tortoise burrows along the trail in preparation for side-arm mowing the sides of the trail.  The yellow caution tape serves to warn  the mower operator of a nearby burrow and potential nearby tortoises.  A particular concern is the weight of the mower potentially collapsing the burrow and trapping the inhabitants.  Gopher tortoises are listed as a Threatened Species in Florida, and both the tortoise and borrow are protected under state law.  These land dwelling reptiles dig a network of borrows up to ten feet deep and 40 feet long, which they share with more than 350 other species!  Interestingly, these herbivores “prune” the plants they eat, usually leaving a healthy plant to regrow.

Please be respectful of wildlife.

Photos courtesy of Megan Donoghue & Roger Normand

 


FLT Donates Trail Counter to County

by Steve Martin

Friends of The Legacy Trail has donated a new, more accurate, trail counter to the County Parks Department to monitor traffic on The Legacy Trail.  Pictured, Jon Robinson, Division Manager, Natural Area Parks, Preserves and Trails (left), receives the counter from John League, President, Friends of The Legacy Trail (right).

FLT has performed two surveys in the past year to evaluate trail usage and user characteristics.  The results of these surveys and analysis were recently used to increase the calculated trail usage from 120,000 to 175,000 users per year.  Another finding from these surveys was that the currently-used trail counters are significantly under-counting trail usage.  An investigation of alternative counting devices and technology led to the selection of the more accurate Eco-Counter device donated by FLT to the county.

Having accurate data to demonstrate the popularity of The Legacy Trail is very important in seeking financial support for the trail and the trail extension to Sarasota.  This activity is currently being performed by both the County Parks Department (Thanks Megan!) and members of FLT.    In the trail business the saying is “If we don’t count, we don’t get counted.”


County Commits First $ To Trail Extension

To the delight of Legacy Trail supporters, County Commissioners committed $8.6 million to buy the land for a 7.5 mile trail extension. No previous funds had been identified. It was the first visible step in turning vision to reality for extending the existing 10.6 mile trail along an unused rail corridor into a multi-use paved path to Payne Park. Once built, the 175,000 annual users could quickly double as the trail reaches the urban core of the City of Sarasota.

The County Commissioners identified the funds during a March 29th day-long budget review session to align funds with established priorities for the County’s FY 2018 program. As Commissioner Hines noted, “The Legacy Trail is a big picture effort with broad county, public and private support. It is a priority, so we have to start building a pot of funds for it.” This was the second of six planned monthly budget meetings before the start of the new fiscal year which begins on October 1, 2017.  Read more …

by Roger Normand


County Commissioners Vote to Direct Staff to Pursue All Possible Funding Options
For the Trail Extension

At their 2/15/17 meeting, the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) showed strong support for trying to find County funds to buy the right-of-way for The Legacy Trail Extension now, rather than wait for a voter referendum in two years.  They directed county staff to investigate all possible funding options and scenarios to get this done sooner rather than later.  County staff will report back to the Commissioners at their budget meeting this Friday 2/17/17.

In other good news, we learned that the Trust for Public Land has now signed a contract to buy the right-of-way land from CSX.  The current plan is for the land to be paid for in two phases.  The first half of the trail will cost $20M and the second half will cost $18M.  Completion of the sale is contingent upon Sarasota County finding funds to pay for the first half of the corridor by the end of 2017.

Thanks to everyone who wrote emails, made phone calls, and came to the BCC meeting to support The Legacy Trail Extension.  The Commissioners received over 300 personal emails and many phone calls supporting the Extension.  More than 100 supporters attended the meeting.  Your support helped to demonstrate the strong community support for the Commissioners to act now.

For a more detailed discussion of our view of The Legacy Trail financing situation and funding options, Click Here.

Click Here to see the potential economic benefits of the Trail Extension to Sarasota County

 


2017 Tour de Parks Ride

Thanks to all of our participants, volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and the weather, for making this year’s event a tremendous success! 

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Professional Photos from Tour de Parks

Thanks to Mo2vatedPhotography.com  for photographing our riders and volunteers at the Tour de Parks!  Links on her website have been separated by the time photos were taken. Check your start time / return time to see a “slideshow” to find your photo.

Check out this time-lapse video – dawn to last table put away in 8 minutes:

See you next year!


 

New Bike Repair Stations Now Installed

Four bike repair stations are being added to the Legacy Trail by Sarasota County. When all are installed, they’ll be at or near Osprey Junction Trailhead, Central Sarasota Parkway, Laurel Park and the Venice Train Depot. Thanks to the county for adding these enhancements to the trail! Photos by SRQ County Parks Specialist Megan Donoghue.

John League


Financing Bicycle Infrastructure: The Case of the Legacy Trail Extension

From the Blog of Doug Barnes

With a feeling of common purpose, I’m sitting amongst a sea of yellow in the first floor meeting room in Sarasota County Administration building in Florida. The call by the Friends of the Legacy Trail and the local bicycle organizations to attend the February 15, 2017 meeting is an overwhelming success. Not only are there about 100 supporters of the extension of the Legacy Trail in the room, but 300 sent emails and many others made phone calls. The call to action was issued because of the possibility of a 2 year delay in the financing of the Legacy Trail Extension to Sarasota.
Read more …

End of Existing Legacy Trail, Sarasota, Florida: Beginning of Extension
Photo by Doug Barnes

 

Trail Safety

Helmet Saves Woman’s Life

 

 

 

 

 

Around 10am on Monday, February 20, I went for a walk on the Legacy Trail. As I walked just north of Laurel Road, I noticed two women and a man sitting on the Trail with their bikes off to the side. I walked up to them and asked what was wrong and if I could help. One woman was sitting there with a bloody knee and looking dazed. They told me that the two women (sisters) had collided into each other while riding. Both women fell, but one hit her head on the pavement. She was disoriented and nauseous — the signs of a head injury.  Read more …

Darryl Lang

FLT Members Help Assemble First-Aid Kits at
Doctors Hospital 50th Anniversary

Hundreds of people showed up to break the world record in assembling first aid kits. We assembled over 4000 kits that will be distributed to nonprofits throughout Sarasota County.
Group picture shows (left to right), Darryl Lang, MJ Rouvet, Jerry Droll, Darlene Edelman, Mark Edelman and Mike Anderson.
Darryl Lang

 

 

Recent Articles

175,000 Strong

Are you one of the estimated 175,000 annual users of the Legacy Trail?  Probably so, if you are reading this.  Great news!  There were 55,000 more of you on the Legacy Trail in 2016 than the 120,000 reported in each of the last few years.  Many of you have asked us why the number of trail users has seemed to, well, stagnate when it appears there is a growing number of people enjoying the trail.

We wondered about that also, which prompted us to do a year long deep dive study of usage of The Legacy Trail and Venetian Waterway Park.  Click here for details and results of this study.
Roger Normand

Importance of the Legacy Trail Bicycle Bridge in Venice, Florida

Click here to read Doug Barnes’ fascinating blog article about the Legacy Trail Bridge over the Venice Route 41 Bypass.

Signs Along the Trail


Click here
to see collages of signs put together by Steve Uglinica.


 

Speakers Bureau

FLT volunteers give many presentations throughout the year to schools, homeowner associations, churches, businesses, clubs and others who would like to know more about The Legacy Trail.  Our lively presentation typically covers trail amenities, history, and the latest news on  efforts to extend the trail to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota.  The presentation can also be tailored to the unique interest and time available.  We arrive “fully equipped” at your location with laptop and projector, or we can load our presentation on your A/V equipment.

We are enthusiastic supporters of The Legacy Trail, and want to share our passion for this multi-use, non-motorized trail.  Help us build the broad community support for the next critical decision point – finding and committing the money necessary to acquire and build the trail extension.

Contact us to schedule a free presentation to your group.


 

Friends of The Legacy Trail, Inc. is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Friends of The Legacy Trail