Brevard is good for hikes
There are environmental gems accessible through hikes throughout Brevard County, including a “rail trail” being built in Titusville.
The problem is finding them.
To help that situation, county officials are developing the Pathways Program which will result in an interactive online map by the end of 2016.
“Most people don’t think we have much. It’s not that it’s not there, you just can’t find it. It’s very spread out. People only know what’s in their own back yard,’’ said Leigh Holt, multi-modal program manager for the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization.
The overall goal of Pathways is to promote physical activity while encouraging non-motorized transportation, she said.
“The Pathways project is about offering alternative modes of transportation. We start with walking and bicycling but here tourism is so important that we always want to also include our tourist destinations and waterways," she said.
The effort began with mapping all the sidewalks and gaps and existing and proposed bike trails. Officials also gathered information from all the cities and Brevard County, including officials with the Environmentally Endangered Lands program, she said.
“We spent a lot of time gathering information about what people would want to see and what would make sense for this community but it’s a very technical document. We really felt like the next step was a user friendly map," she said.
Bids are out with the goal to have it up by late 2016.
“The exciting thing is the desire to have this, the number of people who are excited for this to happen, and the different ways people think it will be used," she said.
The rail trail in Titusville will be part of a 44-mile continuous trail heading north from Brevard County and will be part of a network of connecting trails, she said.
“We’re going to have some really amazing opportunities. We’re going to have a trail where you can see a space center, a wildlife refuge and a zoo and they’ll be able to go right from Pineda all the way out to the beach," Holt said.
Top Trails in Brevard County
- Allan Cruickshank Sanctuary, Rockledge, one-mile nature trial in the 140-acre sanctuary of pine flatwoods habitat.
- Coconut Point Sanctuary, Melbourne Beach, one-mile loop traversing six different habitats.
- Enchanted Forest Sanctuary, Titusville, several miles of hiking trails through five basic habitat types.
- Erna Nixon Park, Melbourne, a half-mile of elevated boardwalk.
- Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville, the five-mile Cruickshank Trail loop, the two-mile Palm Hammock Trail, the 0.7-mile Oak Hammock Trail and the 0.4-mile boardwalk at the visitor’s center.
- Pine Island Conservation Area, Merritt Island, 2.5 miles of trails in the North and South Loops along the Indian River Lagoon.
- Maritime Hammock Sanctuary, Melbourne Beach, 2.5-mile loop along the Indian River Lagoon.
- Malabar Scrub Sanctuary, Malabar, trail system showing wetland and upland habitats.
- Turkey Creek Sanctuary, Palm Bay, 1.6-mile trail leading along boardwalks with shorter loop options available.