Fl Wildlife Corridor Expedition

Back in 2012, four explorers spent 100 days walking and kayaking 1,000 miles up the length of Florida, from the tip of the Everglades to the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. The mission – to publicize the need to connect the state’s remaining wild areas.

This year, the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is back.

Three of the members have reunited. They're now traveling a 70-day, 925-mile journey once again through the wild heart of the state. This time, they’ll go west, traversing the Green Swamp, the Big Bend area and crossing Florida’s Panhandle, all the way to the Alabama state line. WUSF will check in with them every week of the journey – and their quest to unite a patchwork of natural areas for wildlife to roam – before it’s too late.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The documentary of the second cross-Florida trip of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition, "The Forgotten Coast: Return to Wild Florida,” will have its first broadcast airing Thursday at 8 p.m. on WUSF TV, Channel 16.

Broadcasts on PBS stations around the country are next.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Their trip took them nearly a thousand miles, from the headwaters of the Everglades through the Panhandle to the Alabama state line. The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition has finally come to an end, on an sandy barrier island near Pensacola Beach. WUSF traveled with the trio, and we report on their thoughts on the end of the expedition - and what the future might hold.

If their journey of a thousand miles began with one step, it ended with a couple of dozen hugs.

SOUND: Hugs on the beach after landing.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is in the final week of a nearly 1,000-mile trek from Central Florida across the Panhandle to the Alabama state line. They're hiking and paddling sandy-bottom rivers in the state's wild northwest corner. It's also home to the biggest military bases in Florida. This week, we report on how helicopter bombing runs mix with the peace of the wild.
 

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is now crossing through the western Panhandle, after they've hiked, biked and kayaked from Central Florida. But to get there, they had to cross some other emblems of Florida - traffic-choked Interstate highways. We go to some of the biggest barriers to the expedition's goal of establishing a continuous wildlife corridor.
 

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

We're following the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition as they hike, bike and kayak nearly 1,000 miles in 70 days from Central Florida, through the Panhandle to the Alabama State line. They recently visited one of the rarest ecosystems in the world. The Coastal Dune Lakes are where blackwater lakes mix with the green of the Gulf of Mexico. We went along with them for a paddle in one of these lakes.
 

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

WUSF is following the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition as they bike, hike and kayak from Central Florida through the Panhandle to the Alabama state line. The three conservationists recently kayaked down the Apalachicola River. It's at the heart of a water war pitting three states that has reached all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. We met up with the group and paddled 50 miles downstream, where the river meets the Gulf of Mexico. Their trip started on the coldest day of the year.
 

Carlton Ward Jr.

The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is biking, hiking and kayaking from Central Florida through the Panhandle to the Alabama state line. The three conservationists are trying to call attention to the need to preserve what they call the corridor's "integrity" --- an unbroken pathway for wildlife to travel. They recently led about 75 enthusiasts on a hike through the wetlands of the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

WUSF is following the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition as they bike, hike and kayak from Central Florida through the Panhandle to the Alabama state line. The three conservationists recently visited the coastal hamlet of Steinhatchee, deep in the Nature Coast. We paddled with them down the Steinhatchee River, fording some falls and getting a lesson in how much preserving the lands can spark Florida's economy.
 

Carlton Ward Jr.

WUSF is following the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition as they bike, hike and kayak from Central Florida through the Panhandle to the Alabama state line. The three conservationists recently paddled down the Withlacoochee River from the Green Swamp to the Gulf Coast. We  tagged along with them for a trip back to primeval Florida - paddling down one of the state's most pristine springs.

 

Robin Sussingham

The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is crossing the state to bring attention to Florida's wilderness and the need to connect it all. Expedition members Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, Joe Guthrie and Carlton Ward recently met up with several dozen friends and fellow environmentalists in their first "trail mixer" along the Withlacoochee River.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Members of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition are in the second week of their 10-week, 925-mile trek from Central Florida to the Alabama State line.  Part of their trip goes through the Green Swamp.  It's a mysterious place to most people, but critical to the the water supply for Central Florida.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Three years ago, four conservationists embarked on a trip to walk and kayak the entire length of Florida. Their mission: to bring attention to the need to protect lands connecting the state's wild areas. Now, The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is back - and it's taking a different turn.

There's an old Chinese proverb that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Well, they're not going a thousand miles - only 925 miles, give or take. And their first step was on a pedal. Of a bicycle.

The members of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition are off on an encore version of their epic thousand-mile journey in 2012. Then, they trekked from the tip of the Everglades through the remaining wild spaces of the peninsula, north to the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Back in 2012, four explorers spent 100 days walking and kayaking 1,000 miles up the length of Florida, from the Everglades to the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. The mission – to publicize the need to connect the state’s remaining wild areas. This year, the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is back.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Back in 2012, four explorers spent 100 days walking and kayaking 1,000 miles up the length of Florida, from the tip of the Everglades to the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. The mission – to publicize the need to connect the state’s remaining wild areas.

This year, the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is back.