Water levels remain exceptionally high along the entire length of the Kissimmee River basin but have dropped a foot in the past week. As long as no more rain comes, the long-term outlook is good. However, much work needs to be done with blowdowns along this section. Trail crews have already started on it at both ends.
The trail remains closed between Lake Okeechobee and SR 70 due to ongoing construction on the dike. The segment is still fenced off at Scott Driver Park with no work-around except a long roadwalk around it through Okeechobee. Watch for signage regards an upcoming permanent reroute between Micco Landing and Oak Creek that will eliminate the 10-mile walk down Micco Landing Road.
Water levels have been so high through Chandler Slough West that maintainers have not been able to get in and clear the trail between the US 98 stile west of the Chandler Slough highway bridge and where the trail emerges again at US 98 in Basinger. FTA posted a Notice to Hikers on December 20 advising hikers to skip the Chandler Slough West section due to high water and unmaintained conditions by following the white blazes (high water route) along US 98 instead. This walks you right past the store in Basinger for resupply.
Last summer, rains tore a breach in the dike near the S-65A Lock north of Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park. The breach cannot be repaired, so the trail has been permanently relocated. Hikers no longer cross Pine Island Slough at the deep point, and the relocation puts the FT along the park’s north boundary fence, which is now blazed. A new Pine Island Slough campsite has been established along the new route. Please see the map for this major change.