Thanks to generous donations by the nature-based Felburn Foundation, Florida's greenway and trails system features an extraordinary amenity that gives children of all abilities the opportunity to learn and play freely together. Funds contributed by the Felburn Foundation provided for the construction of a barrier-free Boundless Playground on the Cross Florida Greenway at the Baseline Road Trailhead just north of County Road 464 on County Road 35 in southeast Ocala, and at the Wakulla Station Trailhead on the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad
Boundless Playgrounds enable all children-including those with physical, developmental, cognitive, and sensor disabilities-to experience independent, self-directed play. Playground equipment is sensory rich so children with developmental and sensory disabilities can actively and safely play with their peers.
Such extraordinary playgrounds encourage everyone to be in the middle of play, including interaction with parents or grandparents who may also require a barrier-free situation. The Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation is proud to facilitate the creation of Boundless Playgrounds on the State’s greenways and trails-giving all children, with and without disabilities, the chance to enjoy the natural wonders of the environment as they learn together through play.
In a ceremony at the State Capitol, Florida’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) presented OGT with an award for building these Boundless Playgrounds. In accepting the award, OGT Director Jena Brooks thanked the APD for the recognition and noted that "All children should have access to outdoor recreation and this concept is a key component of OGT’s facilitation of a statewide system of greenways and trails in Florida.
The Pruitt Trailhead located near Dunnellon south of State Road 484 in Marion County provides hikers, off-road cyclists, and equestrians access to trails within the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, the Halpata Tastanaki Preserve and the Ross Prairie State Forest. A portion of the Florida National Scenic Trail has been blazed through the area. The trailhead is particularly popular with equestrians due to access to some of the best riding trails in the state and a corral with a hand pitcher pump that provides water for horses. Other trailhead facilities include ADA parking, a portable toilet, and picnic tables. And, most recently, a new pavilion was added due to a generous $15,000 gift to the Foundation by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.
The Pruitt Trailhead is named in memory of Mark Huntington Pruitt, the son of Dr. Crayton Pruitt and Frances Pruitt, former landowners of 8,110 acres now known as the Halpata Tastanaki Preserve. Halpata Tastanaki was a warrior chief during the Second Seminole War. Also known as Chief Alligator, the warrior led the largest Seminole brigade against Colonel Taylor’s armies. Having irritated the people who eventually came to be in charge, Halpata Tastanaki was relocated to Oklahoma.
The Foundation purchased wildflower seeds for the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail (St. Marks State Trail). Visit the Trail in spring and see them in full bloom. The 16 Mile St. Marks State Trail connects Florida’s capital city with the coastal town of St. Marks. The paved corridor provides an excellent workout for bicyclists, walkers and skaters and is home to a Boundless Playground that provides children of all abilities the opportunity to learn and play together. The trail also offers opportunities for horseback riding on a earthen trail through the adjacent narrow tree canopy. The Munson Hills Off Road Trail in the Apalachicola National Forest is a short distance south of the Main Trailhead.
Photograph provided by John Moran
© 2014 by the Florida Greenways & Trails Foundation, Inc.