City of Brooksville Recognized as Trail Town
On Friday, April 14, 2023, the Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Greenways and Trails Council approved the City of Brooksville as one of the State’s newest Trail Towns.
City of Brooksville Recognized as Trail Town
The Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT), a component of the DEP’s Florida State Parks system, developed the Trail Town program in 2018 to recognize communities based on accessibility, amenities, safety, and signage, and proximity to businesses. To become a Florida Trail Town, interested communities conduct a self-assessment to gauge their strengths and weaknesses in relation to nearby trails and trail users, working with OGT regional coordinators until they are deemed ready for designation by the Department.
Brooksville, the County Seat of Hernando County, established in 1856, has a population of 9,500 and is located in East Central Hernando County, Florida. Brooksville is known for its rolling topography with elevations ranging from 100 ft to 180 ft. and is just forty-five miles north of Tampa and fifteen miles east of the Gulf of Mexico. Brooksville is a full-service City with a Council-Manager form of Government within 11 sq. miles with equal parts historic and scenic, Brooksville offers trails with historic sites or adventure amongst the 100-year-old brick streets and Spanish moss-draped oaks that surround the community.
Listed as one of the “15 Most Picturesque Small Towns in Florida” in 2022 by Trips to Discover, the Historic Downtown of Brooksville has six residences listed on the National Registry of Historic Places as well as many other historic sites and cultural venues. It is a favorite destination for those traveling the Good Neighbor trail for both its historic charm and enriching attractions. Brooksville residents and those traveling the many trails are linked to the center of downtown, which includes many revitalized businesses and an arts district as well as numerous downtown events throughout the year.
“Brooksville is known for being both historic and charming, with moss-laden oak trees, canopy roads and rolling green hills. Home to the nearby pristine spring waters of Weeki Wachee and immaculate trails in Withlacoochee State Forest, Brooksville is a lesser-traveled vacation destination.” ~ By Charity De Souza, Trips to Discover
There are several day hiking and biking trails within or near the City of Brooksville, these include: Tom Varn Park, and the Disc Quarry Park and the Good Neighbor Trail with a trail head located at Russell Street Park. The Withlacoochee State Trail (Ridge Manor Trailhead) which connects to the Suncoast Trail; the 42-mile Suncoast Trail stretches from Hillsborough County through Pasco County and currently terminating in Hernando County on US Highway 98. Also nearby is the Peck Sink Preserve, Fickett Hammock Preserve, located in NW Hernando County, is a walking trail within a Hernando County Park and McKethan Lake Nature Trail (1.9-mile walking loop) is a spur trail located within the Withlacoochee State Forest.
The Good Neighbor Trail, when completed, will continue eastward along the abandoned rail corridor to connect with the existing 46-mile-long Withlacoochee State Trail near the historic town site of Croom. Completion of the extended trail will link Brooksville to a private mountain bike racing facility; a 55-mile mountain bike trail, thirty-one miles of hiking trails and twenty-three miles of horse trails in the Croom Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest; Silver Lake, Townsend Lake, and Cypress Lakes recreation areas; and the Withlacoochee River canoe trail.
“I would like to thank all of the city staff and stakeholders that worked so very hard to assure that Brooksville would earn the designation of a Florida Trail Town.” Stated City Manager, Ron Snowberger. “As an incredibly significant part of the Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail, the portion that runs through the city is called the Good Neighbor Trail. This trail will bring opportunities for bicyclists and pedestrians from all over the state, including those within our community, to utilize this amenity and enjoy the many activities that our city has to offer.
Increasing the exposure to visitation within the city also helps to bolster the economy and strengthen our business community. While a portion of the trail is still under construction, it will soon be completed. I encourage residents and visitors alike, to visit that trail and check out all that it has to offer and have a great time!”
For more information contact the City of Brooksville Public Information Officer at 352-540-
3810 or visit https://floridadep.gov/parks/ogt/content/trail-town-program.
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