Monday, January 15, 2018

Bonita-Estero Trail segment restored to FL Greenways and Trails Map

All the hard work to get the Bonita-Estero Trail segment restored to the Florida Greenways and Trails Map paid off.  On Jan. 11th the Florida Greenways and Trails Board, part of Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and its Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT), met to make final decisions on what to include in the FL Greenways and Trails Plan Maps, and voted to restore the Bonita-Estero Trail, based on the strong community support.  Why is this important? Because being a "Priority Trail" gives you priority for SUN Trail funds. Below is the Estero Council of Community Leaders News (1/15/18), with thank you's posted from ECCL, the Lee MPO, and BikeWalkLee.  A special thanks to Bonita Deputy Mayor, Peter O'Flinn, Estero Village Council member, Nick Batos, and Don Scott, Lee MPO Executive Director, for their leadership, AND thanks to all the residents and advocates who sent letters in support. YOU made a difference!

Since BikeWalkLee's inception in 2009, it has been a strong supporter of the vision of a connected and integrated statewide trail system throughout Florida. [BWL 2016 Letter ] While a statewide trail map was developed in 1998, the initiative gained momentum beginning in 2014 when the State Legislature provided annual funding ($25 M/year) for the SUN Trail program that uses the Florida Greenways and Trails Plan and maps to prioritize funding for the system. This Plan and maps (last updated in 2015) will guide implementation of the connected statewide trail system from 2018 through 2022. Since 2015, the Lee MPO has proposed several new segments for the trail, which need to be incorporated into the updated maps.

The revised statewide trail maps contained in the draft FGTS update, released in September 2017, deleted the Seminole Gulf Railroad right of way corridor between Bonita Springs and Estero that has been on the FGTS map since the beginning as the primary spine for the Southwest Coast Connector (aka Gulf Coast Trail) in Lee County.  

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