What is the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail?
The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT) is a program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, supported in part by the Florida Department of Transportation and the Wildlife Foundation of Florida. This 2,000-mile, self-guided highway trail connects and unifies 515 birding and wildlife viewing sites throughout Florida. Modeled after the successful Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, this ambitious project features detailed guide booklets, a mobile device application, and special highway signs identifying GFBWT sites. Guide booklets contain site descriptions, directions, and maps showcasing the wonderful birding and wildlife watching opportunities in Florida. Each Trail section consists of a series of clusters, with each cluster containing 1 to 15 sites highlighting communities and special ecosystems like the Lake Wales Ridge.
Traditionally, only local birders knew about the great birding and wildlife watching sites in their area. Most publicity went to federal and state sites, such as J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and Everglades National Park. The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail groups prominent viewing sites with smaller local sites to spread out wildlife watchers and their eco-tourism dollars into the surrounding communities.
The Trail is possible thanks to dozens of federal, state, and local government agencies, non-governmental organizations and private landowners. Continued, broad-based support and grassroots community investment will make the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail a success for Florida and for our feathered friends.