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

Rainbow from the Trail
Photo: Darryl Lang

Start of 2017 Tour de Parks

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

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Let Your Opinion on Trails Be Known
Take the Online Survey for the
Sarasota County Trails Master Plan Update

Sarasota County has hired Atkins consulting firm to update the Trails Master Plan, last updated in 2006.  As part of this effort they are seeking community input via their online survey.  Please take the survey and express you opinion on the priorities of county trails development and in particular The Legacy Trail.  Thanks!

Survey ends June 30.


The Mowing Is Done!

And The Trail is now fully open.

A big “Thank You” to the County for keeping the trail beautiful.

 


Trimming the Trail

by Roger Normand

Sarasota County began mowing the sides of the trail this week.  In this subtropical climate, it doesn’t take long for vegetation to rapidly encroach onto the pavement, or for roots to undermine the asphalt.  The County is using what can only be described as One Mean Mowing Machine, with an articulating sidearm mower deck than can reach the edges of the raised trail surface.  A flagger vehicle accompanies the mower to ensure trail closure.

The mowing operation carefully avoids previously marked areas denoting the location of gopher tortoise burrows.   Debris is blown off the trail after mowing is completed on each trail segment. The mowing operation is expected to extend through at least June 9.  Stay tuned for updates.


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


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


 

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

 

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

 

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.

Disclaimer:  Sarasota County Department of Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources is not responsible for the content of hypertext links included in this web site.

Friends of The Legacy Trail