Category Archives: Trail News

2019 Tour de Parks shatters previous record participation

by Roger Normand

They gathered in the predawn Florida cold (60 degrees Fahrenheit) darkness at the Historic Venice Train Depot.   Vehicles guided by volunteers to designated parking areas.   Bicycles dismounted from their carrier.  Final ABC safety check: “A” for Air in tires, OK; “B” for Brakes, OK. “C” for Cranks and Chains, OK.  A quick healthy bit of fuel consisting of yogurt, muffins, fruit, OJ and coffee graciously provided by sponsor First Watch restaurant.  A final potty call.

Event Director Bud Gaunce called out “Ride safely, ride courteously, and enjoy the ride.”

And as the sun peaked over the horizon, bringing the light and warmth of day, the first wave of 62 milers on the 2019 Tour de Parks launched north on the Legacy Trail.  The 35 and 21 milers followed later in the morn.

950 riders signed up for the event, shattering last’s year’s record of 750!  It all went very smoothly, thanks to detailed planning efforts and dedicated volunteers before, during, and cleanup after the ride.

True to its name, riders traversed parks along the Legacy Trail, venturing to Urfer, Rothenbach Parks.  Rowers could be seen honing their skills as riders circled Benderson Park, site of international rowing competitions. Ocean vistas and dream homes line the newly paved route along Casey Key.

The Tour de Parks is a key fund raising event by both the Friends of the Legacy Trail and the Sarasota-Manatee Bicycle Club.  About 100 volunteers help support the ride, along with area bicycle shops providing SAG support for mechanical issues.  This year’s ride, like most previous year’s, was graced with light winds, low humidity, mostly blue sky, near perfect low 80s temperature.  Perfect for hesitant riders trying their first cycling event, to seasoned cyclist using this as a first of the season’s long distance rides.  A hearty lunch provided by Mattison’s greeted those at the finish line.

Thanks to all who participated.  And a special thanks to all the FLT and SMBC volunteers who make this event possible.  See more FLT and SMBC volunteer opportunities.

New South Creek Stop Station and Learning Area

by Darryl Lang

“The South Creek Stop Station and Learning Area” is being created at South Creek adjacent to Oscar Scherer State Park. Funding from the Jelks Family Foundation and Friends of The Legacy Trail is making this project possible.   The area will include a bench, bike rack, kiosk, viewing area for the historic railroad trestle, various Florida native trees and plants and an official Sarasota County historical marker explaining the significance of the railroad to our community. Trail users will be able to view the historic railroad trestle, learn about Florida native plants and relax in a natural, enjoyable setting.

Phil Smith, Darryl Lang, and Kate Johnston

Phil Smith, State Licensed Landscape Architect, and Kate Johnston, Landscape Designer, from DWJA Landscape Architects have donated their time and expertise to create a site and construction plan. Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources staff have also been working on the design. Friends of The Legacy Trail will be managing the project. Darryl Lang, FLT Board Member, has worked tirelessly to get this project accomplished.  Construction should begin in a few months.

Click to Enlarge
Current View of the Site

Trail Updates – February 2019

by Megan Eidel, County Trails Coordinator

It’s busy season, and it’s important to follow basic rules and etiquette on the trail. Remember, The Legacy Trail is a multi-use trail. We have cyclists, walkers, roller bladers, parents with strollers, dog walkers and more!

Here are a few of The Legacy Trail’s etiquette policies and rules:

  • Cyclists, always slow down and announce in a loud voice “On your left” before passing other cyclists or pedestrians.
  • The speed limit on the trail is 15 mph. This includes the pedestrian overpasses.
  • Always stop and use crossing signals at road intersections.
  • Cyclists under 16 must wear a helmet.

Together, we can create a safe and enjoyable experience for ALL Legacy Trail users.

Join our Speakers Bureau

The Friends of The Legacy Trail Speakers Bureau is looking for individuals who are comfortable presenting to a wide variety of groups to spread the word and excitement about The Legacy Trail.  Our Speakers Bureau was a very big part of our work to promote the Legacy Trail Extension Referendum by informing Sarasota County Voters about the important facts related to the project.  Although the Referendum has successfully passed, we continue to receive requests from community and neighborhood groups, service and business organizations, etc., to provide speakers to inform their membership about the trail. 

We have an important story to tell about our history as well as the ever-changing plans for the newly approved extension and possible connections to the trail.  Keeping the public informed as we move forward is very important to our mission and helps us honor the support the voters have shown for The Legacy Trail. We have developed a Power Point presentation that helps tell our story and we will provide the equipment and materials for these events. 

Sound interesting?  Need a little more information?  Let us know!  Contact us here. We will work with you to become familiar with the materials and make sure you have all the information you need.

Tour de Parks Bicycle Ride

by Michelle Stanley

Join us on Sunday, March 24, 2019 for the annual Tour de Parks Bike event. The ride features distances of 21, 35 and 62 miles, going through 12 scenic parks in Sarasota County. You may get more information and register now from here, or or go directly to You can pay online, or download a form and mail it in. The ride will once again have a wonderful breakfast catered by First Watch, snacks at rest stations sponsored by Doctors Hospital and Lunch by Mattison’s. All this and a t-shirt (for the first 650 riders –size restrictions available on line) for $40 (plus Active fee). The prices go up starting February 28, so register early. The ride will begin at the historic Venice Train station. The ride will be held rain or shine.

Final Routes are still being confirmed and will be posted on our website. There will be packet pick-up prior to the event at Real Bikes, Bikes International and Sarasota Bikes. Details will be sent prior to the ride and posted at the link above. Last year we had close to 800 riders. We will have a Bespoke Jersey for sale and will have that information available on the website once the design is complete. If you would like to sponsor a mile marker or see other sponsorship opportunities, please contact Michelle Stanley.

Info Tables to Begin Again Soon!!

by Rita Miotti

We are in need of Volunteers interested in helping us to staff Information Tables.  These are held along the trail, at community events such as Farmers Markets, Health Fairs, Craft Shows, Festivals and other locations we feel would provide us an opportunity to speak with the public about The Legacy Trail and Friends of The Legacy Trail.

Some will be on a regular schedule and others will be as they come along.
Information Tables allow us to honor the strong public support of The Legacy Trail Extension Referendum last fall by providing information about The Legacy Trail as well as regular updates on the plans for the extension project as it moves forward.  They also help us to grow our membership base and support fund raising programs we have developed.

FLT Board members work these events with assistance from volunteers when needed.  As interest and excitement grows for The Legacy Trail we would like to identify a group of volunteers who would enjoy this type of event and work with them to assure they have the training and information necessary to help us cover all requests.   You don’t have to be a full-time resident in Sarasota County, just willing to talk with the public about The Legacy Trail and Friends of The Legacy Trail at events that are convenient for you. Can we add your name to this group?  If so, please contact us here.

From the President’s Corner – February 2019

by Roger Normand

It’s easy to get swept up in the euphoria of the latest extension news. After all, it’s all good news, vision morphing into reality. But there’s much more going on along the existing trail. Let me highlight a few examples this past month.

January 9th marked the grand opening ceremony of the new Legacy Trail Overpass at Laurel Road. County Commissioners Maio, Hines, Moran and Florida Department of Transportation Director John Kubler participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony, to the delight of some 50 trail enthusiasts.

Commissioner Maio spoke of his efforts to secure County funds to relocate major utility lines within the planned footprint of the overpass. Director Kubler said this was a win-win project, as trail users can now safely and easily cross the very busy four lane Laurel Road, while vehicles now have one less red light to contend with. Left unmentioned: trail users can delight in climbing a second Legacy Trail “Florida Hill,” along with the SR 41 overpass in Venice!

Miles likes the new water fountain.

A new frequent gathering spot for trail users is the intersection at the new Bay Street extension to Honore Avenue. FLT, with financial support from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, donated a new $5,900 ADA compliant multi-level water fountain at this intersection. The County installed this already-popular water fountain in January 2019. The fountain is Fido the dog friendly, and can fill tall jugs. Check it out and stay hydrated in style.

Least visible, but no less important, FLT donated and the County installed a second $3,000 passive infrared Eco-counter on the trail. (A third counter is on order.) These new counters are far more reliable, accurate, and far easier to harvest the data than the previous TrafX counters initially installed along the trail eight years ago. We have long believed in the adage that if you don’t count, you don’t count! We want to report a statistically credible number of trail uses. To that end, the number of trail uses for 2018 is 216,000. That’s down four percent from the 225,000 reported in 2017. We attribute this slight decline to the more than yearlong havoc of construction projects at Bay Street and Laurel Road changing trail use patterns, and the effect of the persistent Red Tide reducing tourism.

FLT is an all-volunteer organization. Your contributions – time and money – produce real trail improvements. Thank you. Contact me at here if you’d like to join our cause.

Make Contributions to FLT with Amazon Smile!

Friends of The Legacy Trail is a newly registered organization with the Amazon Smile Foundation! We are now eligible to receive 0.5% of your Amazon Smile purchases made here:
No additional cost to you! But donations from Amazon Smile will go directly to FLT!

Amazon Smile is the same as ordering on except you can select from a list of eligible organizations and designate one to receive a percentage of your purchase price from Amazon Smile Foundation. (Amazon does not charge any administrative fees or take any deduction from the donation amount and there is no cost to the charitable organization.)
It’s easy-start shopping! Select Friends of The Legacy Trail!!

Thanks to Joan Attenberg for setting this up for us!

From the President – January 2019

by Roger Normand, President, FLT

Out with the old, in with the new. New Year’s is a time to reflect on the past and look with optimism to the future. 2018 will remain a truly pivotal year for Legacy Trail enthusiasts and our community.

Achieving 71 percent voter endorsement, sweeping 100 out of 101 of the county precincts for a $65 million bond on the November ballot to extend the Legacy Trail to downtown Sarasota and better connect the city of North Port is astounding! I’m mindful that this euphoria is the result of countless, seemingly endless, energy-sapping hours of very hard work over six years by your Board of Directors, our volunteers, and partners to advocate throughout the County for the extension. We have a deep-seated satisfaction knowing how fundamentally this effort will benefit the health, safety, recreation, transportation, and economics of our community for generations to come.

Barring some unforeseen calamity, I have high confidence that the extension is on autopilot and will be built. So looking to the next few years, where should FLT focus its efforts? There are so many opportunities, like showcasing the unique character of our community along the new and existing trail, enhancing connections to the trail, and improving trail safety, to name but a few. Your Board of Directors will meet in January to decide how we can be most effective. I welcome your thoughts but would value even more your offer to help with your time and energy. In an all-volunteer organization like FLT, availability of committed people is often the limiting factor in what can be pursued. If you have a passion to make the trail a better place, please contact me here.

I would also like to publicly acknowledge the immense contributions by Andrea Seager, who served with me as co-chair of the Trail Extension Subcommittee and was FLT’s board secretary for the last few years. A resident of downtown Sarasota, Andrea was the dynamic force for a multitude of extension advocacy efforts, such as the development of the unique extension logo, creation of FLT referendum literature, speaking to government officials and individuals, doing radio interviews, giving presentations, and getting FLT info table space at Sarasota Farmers Market. All summer, she marshalled board members and volunteers to work together to get the referendum passed. Andrea has stepped away from FLT leadership to take care of other life priorities. Andrea, THANK YOU; we’ll see you on the trail.

President’s Corner – December 2018

From the President –

Thanksgiving is a time to express thanks. I’m honored to serve as the President of FLT, and thankful for the 12 other members of your Board of Directors. Each is passionate, bright, diligent, energetic, and self-motivated. They selflessly volunteer their time and energy to “support, promote, enhance, and protect The Legacy Trail and its connectors now and for future generations.”

I’m thankful for the unwavering support of local governments and their staff to embrace and value the many benefits to our community for a longer trail.

I’m thankful for the incredible efforts put forward by our volunteers and supporters who worked tirelessly for years to advocate for the extension.

I am most thankful for the 137,853 (71%) Sarasota County voters who not only agreed that investing in a multi-use, non-motorized trail connection between Sarasota and North Port was a worthy goal, but were willing to tax themselves to pay for it. You are each honorary Friends of the Legacy Trail members (we welcome you to join our 1,000 dues paying members)!

We have been singularly focused on advocacy for the extension. With funding now guaranteed, we will now chart a new set of FLT priorities to guide us for the next few years. The overwhelming margin of support gives us a strong “trail wind.” I’d welcome your suggestions on how we proceed. Contact me here.

Roger Normand, President
Friends of The Legacy Trail