Local volunteer wins 2010 State Trail Worker Award

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By The Staff

Horse lover Helen Koehler, of Levy County, was recently rewarded for her on-going contributions to the trail systems in the area at the 20th National Trails Awards symposium held in Chattanooga, Tennessee in November.
The award  "recognizes an individual that has demonstrated outstanding contributions and provided consistent support for trail planning, development, or maintenance."
A horse enthusiast since the 1980’s, she purchased her first horse and began enjoying trail riding and horse camping. This interest evolved into volunteering on various trail projects, as well as, serving on local land-use committees in the Gainesville area.
She moved to Levy County in 1995 with her husband Buck and together, they have marked over 100 miles of shared use trails. Additionally, they annually host the Goethe Challenge endurance ride which raises money for the Forest.
In her spare time, Koehler also serves as the Trail Grants Program Liaison for the American Endurance Riding Conference, chairs the Levy County Tourist Development Council, is president of The Goethe Trail, Inc., which promotes nature based equine tourism and actively participates on Florida’s Recreational Trails Program Committee.
She assists local, state and federal agencies with design and layout of equestrian trail facilities. Upon design approval, Helen finds funding, materials and volunteers to assist with construction. And later, helps on the trails with construction and signing.
Helen’s current project assisting the Office of Greenways & Trails is that of working with the site manager on the redesign of an equestrian campground and associated trails on the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway.
If you have a question about whether or not an area is suitable for equestrian trails and associated facilities or what materials would be best to use, call Helen. She will meet you in your office or at the site to discuss the options.