Founded in February 2014 by an enthusiastic group of Florida hikers whose background includes deep knowledge of the Florida Trail and of hiking and backpacking, the Florida Trail Hikers Alliance, Inc. (FTHA) seeks to connect more people to the Florida Trail, a National Scenic Trail that is one of our state’s most important recreational resources, by providing resources and support to help individuals and families get outdoors and hike the Florida Trail. We are chartered as a Not-for-Profit Corporation under the laws of the State of Florida and are an IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organization. All donations to FTHA are tax-deductible and go directly to supporting our programs, which in turn support the hiking community.
The Florida National Scenic Trail is managed by the USDA Forest Service and built and maintained by the volunteers of the Florida Trail Association. Our focus is to encourage more hikers to experience the trail and to connect you with the resources you need to enjoy the Florida Trail.
To educate the public about the Florida Trail and to promote its sustainable recreational use.
It is our vision to have hikers helping hikers by connecting would-be hikers with experienced hikers through online forums and in-person workshops, and by providing the public detailed information and resources to make it easy for them to get outside and take a hike on the Florida Trail.
Our focus is on the hiking experience, so our programs reflect that. We hold hiker gatherings and public workshops, and we manage Facebook groups where hikers can connect with others and get their questions answered. We work to raise the recognition of the trail and its hikers with local businesses and government agencies. We connect those hiking and in need of assistance with resources for on-the-ground support. We also provide hikers recognition for the significant achievement of completing a long distance hike on the Florida Trail. For specific details, please visit Our Programs.
As our volunteers visit with businesses along the Florida Trail and organizations that are aware of the Florida Trail, we want to encourage them to actively promote the existence of the trail as a public resource. We’ve produced window decals to share with businesses and are thanking them in person and in writing for their support of hikers along the Florida Trail, noting that hikers do have an economic impact when they visit an area. Similarly, we are working with tourism bureaus in Florida to make them aware of the importance of the Florida Trail as an attractive resource for visitors.
While we are not a membership organization, we welcome your support through donations and sponsorships to underwrite our programs. Please contact us to discuss financial and in-kind gifts that can benefit our programs. Our thanks to FloridaHikes.com for underwriting the operational costs for the Florida Trail Hikers Alliance since our inception.
Our organization is governed by a Board of Directors who serve two-year terms. All of our programs are managed and staffed by volunteers. Our website and other official communications are overseen by an unpaid volunteer Executive Director serving at the pleasure of the Board.
PRESIDENT & FOUNDER: John Keatley
VICE PRESIDENT: open (VP resigned 12/17 due to health issues)
TREASURER: LuAnne Anderson
SECRETARY: Phyllis Malinski
BOARD MEMBER-AT-LARGE: Chris Bell
BOARD MEMBER-AT-LARGE: Bob Finley
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Sandra Friend
Nominations are presently being taken for the Vice President and Secretary positions, both of which must be filled this season. According to our bylaws, the Board of Directors must vote on positions that need to be filled prior to May 1 each year, and may choose to expand the board by the addition of Member-at-Large positions. The Board meets in person annually and otherwise uses digital means to make organizational decisions. Our fiscal year runs from July 1-Jun 30.
Florida Trail Hikers Alliance, PO Box 10046, Cocoa FL 32780
We’re a young nonprofit and have plenty of room to grow. If you’re interested in serving on the Board or as a volunteer working directly on any of our programs, please contact us to share your expertise and and interests.
How can you help us help the trail community?
Local knowledge. Do you live near a section of the Florida Trail, or frequently hike on the Florida Trail? Share your trail updates in our Facebook group to let hikers know that something along the trail may have changed recently, or send them in to us so we can post them on this website.
Shuttling hikers. The Florida Trail is a linear footpath with very few loop options. There is a great need for assisting section hikers and weekend backpackers by helping them place vehicles for section hikes. In addition, during the spring and fall hiking season, both thru-hikers and section hikers may be in need of assistance getting to either terminus of the trail, or need help for resupply along long stretches where there are no services. Be a Trail Angel and help out: join our Facebook group and monitor calls for assistance, or join our Florida Trail Angels mailing list to get notices we pass along from people who ask for help. We won’t share your personal information with hikers; it’s up to you to reach out to those in need.
Outreach. Public outreach is an important part of our mission. If you’ve hiked the Florida Trail, we’d love to have you tell your story, either in writing or images. Are you a whiz with social media, blogging, or video? You can help us spread the word about the Florida Trail. If you have a knack for public speaking, you can help our efforts in presenting workshops. Contact us with your details.
Gatherings. Depending on the type of gathering, help may be needed with shuttling hikers to and/or from the trail to the event, donations of food, food preparation, public outreach, logistical coordination, and the like. If you’d like to get involved with one of our gatherings, contact us with some background on your expertise and interests. And be sure to sign up for our mailing list to know what’s coming up.