To ensure we’d still be there to get hikers out into Big Cypress, we found it necessary to scale back and make the Florida Trail Kickoff more of a low-key event like it had first started years ago. That’s not to say that attendance didn’t set records, but it meant a more basic gathering with Trail Lakes Campground as our host, and no outreach events at Big Cypress National Preserve. Our focus was entirely on the hikers themselves.
We’re grateful to Roy “Bayou” Knight, Karen “Hobo Girl” Miller, Billy Goat, Chris Bell, Ralph Duarte, and many others for stepping up to the plate to volunteer to shuttle and feed hikers and to get them out on the trail. Our VP Randy “Chuck Norris” Anderson oversaw camping and cooking. Thanks to Chris Bell for putting together the video below to recap the 2017 kickoff.