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The natural beauty of the Tri-County area may serve to bring in even more tourists with further development of the region's Nature Coast State Trail System.
The trail was recently designated as a priority by state officials with Florida's recreational trails program.
"The ultimate goal is to have it (the Nature Coast Trail) connect down to the Cross Florida Greenway Trail System," said Jim Wood, the program's chief.
Woods, explaining that the program to extend the trails was still in its early phases, said more would be known by the end of the year in terms of time lines and costs.
The Nature Coast Trail could also be extended from Fanning Springs north and east toward Trenton.
The land for the trail extension between Trenton and Newberry was acquired in 2010, he said, though the state is still seeking funding for construction.
Another section of a recently approved map shows a trail stretching from Bronson to Archer along State Road 24, which would link up with another trail that connects to Gainesville, a 6-mile stretch slated to begin being constructed today.
Wood said Florida's trails are an important way to increase tourism in the state, generating "lots of interest."
"Seventy-five percent of visitors participate in nature-based activities," he said, which has a positive impact on nearby economies. "Trails provide access. As trails grow, value increases."
Trails also provide a way for people to use automobiles less, especially in more urban areas, reducing carbon footprints and strain on infrastructure.
"There's so much value that comes from them.
"I can tell you, hands down, people very much like these trails," he said.
Woods said there are several ways such trails are funded, the biggest being through the Federal and Florida departments of transportation. Local governments can play a big role, as well, and there's even the possibility of private donations through the use of utility easements and corridors.