Welcome to the The Legacy Trail
of Sarasota County, Florida


  • The Friends of the Legacy Trail has joined with Friends of Sarasota County Parks to promote the extension of the Legacy Trail north to downtown Sarasota from its current end at Culverhouse Community Garden.  We discuss the essentials of the trail extension in a short You-tube video. Check it out here:

    Prompted by last year’s parkland acquisition nomination by the Friends of The Legacy Trail and our parent organization the Friends of Sarasota County Parks (the Friends), the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners in August allocated $75,000 toward the cost of a study of the feasibility of extending the Trail from its current end in Palmer Ranch 8.6 miles north to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota. Originally estimated to cost a total of $150,000, the Commission challenged the private sector to raise the remaining $75,000 needed to complete the study.  The Friends accepted the challenge.

    As the County staff worked to establish the proper scope of the study, it was determined it should be split into two phases, with the cost of the first phase coming in at almost $90,000 and the second phase at nearly $75,000.  The overwhelming popularity of the original section of the Trail prompted some generous donations to the cause, enough in fact to allow the Friends to make up the $14,824 difference between the County’s allocation and the actual price, letting work on the study proceed.  Work on the first phase began on March 11th and completion is scheduled in early fall. 

    The Gulf Coast Community Foundation joined the effort in January, posting the project on their web portal, and is assisting with the campaign to fund the study’s second phase.  Click HERE for the current funding status, or to make a donation to the extension effort. 

    You can also help by writing or emailing your government representatives in support of the Trail extension. Click Here to learn more.

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    WHAT’S NEW: 

    * * Trail Safety Day on 28 Feb, 10 am to 1 pm @ Osprey Junction Trailhead * *

    FLT is joining with the Sarasota Parks, Recreation & Natural Resources Division and the Sheriff’s Office to promote safe and courteous use of non-motorized multi-use trails like The Legacy Trail.  The is a family friendly event, and parents are encouraged to bring their children.  Free children’s bicycle helmets and fittings will be available.  Osprey Junction Trailhead is located at 936 E. Bay St, Osprey, FL.  For more information, see the flyer at the events tabs.

    * * Come ride the Tour de Parks 2015 on 22 March, 2015 * * 

    Tour de Parks 2015

    Tour de Parks 2015

    Here’s a great early spring 2015 cycling opportunity that also supports a great cause – ride the sixth annual Tour de Parks 2015 on Sunday, 22 March.  We hope to exceed last year’s record 635 riders who pedaled 15, 37, or 62 mile routes along The Legacy Trail and through many Sarasota County Parks.  It’s a ride, not a race, so pick one of the distance and start training!  All three routes begin and end at the historic Venice Train Deport in Venice, FL.  The $40 registration fee includes a T-shirt, breakfast, lunch, rest stops stocked with snacks, beverage, rest rooms, and SAG support.  All proceeds support The Legacy Trail extension/enhancements efforts.  For more details and a printable registration, see the Tour de Parks Tab on the Left.  You can also register on-line at Active.com.

    * * Doug Hattaway from the Trust for Public Lands is our guest speaker at the 3 Feb 2015 FLT meeting * *

    FLT Jan 2015 meeting

    FLT Jan 2015 meeting

    We had a record turnout at the January 2015 FLT meeting, held for the first time at Bentley’s Boutique Hotel in Osprey FL.  Though some FLT members miss meeting at the Oscar Scherer Park for its rustic atmosphere and proximity to The Legacy Trail, the amenities and physical space at Bentley’s hotel are far superior.   Thank you to Bentley’s for offering to host our monthly meetings!

    Doug Hattaway of the Trust for Public Land is our guest speaker for the 3 February meeting.  TPL is a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect lands as parks and open spaces.  The Draft Feasibility Study to extend The Legacy Trail to downtown Sarasota, now being reviewed by Sarasota County Staff, pegs the construction cost at about $15 million, but offers no estimate on land acquisition costs or financing opportunities.  TPL was instrumental in negotiating the purchase of the existing 10.6 mile segment of The Legacy Trail, and has begun discussions to acquire use of the proposed 8.6 mile extension.  

    Patrick Lui, the new Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Trails Coordinator for Sarasota County, was unable to speak at the January  2015 meeting.  He is our guest speaker for the 3 March FLT meeting.  Patrick will talk about his new job along with the County’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.

    The monthly meeting is held at Bentley’s Hotel, located at 1660S Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229.  It is just north of and across the street from Oscar Scherer State Park.

    * * * Draft Feasibility Study to Extend The Legacy Trail Submitted * * *

    The Draft Feasibility Study to Extend The Legacy Trail eight miles to downtown Sarasota was submitted to Sarasota County on 10 December, 2014.  Larry Mau, Sarasota Branch Manager of Cardno TBE, hired by Sarasota County to conduct the study, provided an overview of the study at the December FLT meeting.  See the Trail Extension Tab for a summary of the draft study.

    * * FLT Marches in 2014 Sarasota Holiday Parade * *

    FLT marches in the Sarasota 19th Annual Holiday Parade

    FLT marches in the Sarasota 19th Annual Holiday Parade

    Everybody loves a parade.  FLT members sprouted reindeer antlers and joined with some 4,000 other participants to march in the 19th Annual Sarasota Holiday Parade held on 6 December 2014.  Carrying the “Extend the Legacy Trail” banner and pedaling both the 6-person and 2-person Surreys decked out in holiday regalia, FLT members marched passed thousands more people lining both sides of Main St.  ’Twas a beautiful, mild Saturday evening, and there were no reports of snowbirds missing the white powdery stuff on the ground.


    * * FLT Turns 8! * *

    Mike Gipperts displays a vintage FLT shirt

    FLT’s first President Mike Gippert shows a vintage FLT shirt

    Eight years old and growing stronger!  The Friends of the Legacy Trail celebrated it’s 8th birthday at the 2 December 2014  monthly meeting held at the Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey, FL.  Members indulged in cheesecake, birthday cake, and punch amid balloons and streamers celebrating the occasion.  This was a “really big show.”  Past FLT President Mike Gippert, one of the FLT founding members, recounted how the FLT came to be, along with some of the early challenges and successes.  Larry Mau, Branch Manager of Cardno TBE, the firm hired by Sarasota County to conduct a feasibility study to extend The Legacy Trail to downtown Sarasota, presented the draft concept plans they have been working on for the last nine months.

     * * * Enhanced Safe Crossing at Central Sarasota Parkway * * *

    Warning lights installed at Central Sarasota Parkway

    Warning lights installed at Central Sarasota Parkway

    Sarasota County has installed a new pedestrian crossing warning light system where The Legacy Trail bisects the busy four-lane  Central Sarasota Parkway.  Cyclists must first heed the stop sign on The Legacy Trail.  After stopping, press the button on the side of the trail to activate the crossing lights,  alerting drivers that you intend to cross.  Make eye contact with drivers to confirm vehicles are slowing or stopping before entering the intersection.  Florida law grants cyclists on a crosswalk the same rights and responsibilities as pedestrians.  Drivers are supposed to yield to pedestrians in the cross walk.  Nonetheless, FLT urges all cyclists to confirm driver behavior before beginning to cross the road.

    new 911 stickers

    Replacing 911 stickers

    Sarasota County has replaced the yellow 911 emergency location markers spaced along the trail.  Though just installed last year, many have faded prematurely and were  no longer legible.  There have been several instances the 911 markers helped trail users pinpoint their precise location for emergency responders.

    Thank you Sarasota County for continuing to invest in safety for all The Legacy Trail users! 

    * * New Ambassador Patrols hit the Trail * *

    Ambassador Patrol seminar

    Classroom time for future Ambassador Patrollers

    FLT renewed its commitment to sponsoring Ambassador Patrols along The Legacy Trail and Venetian Waterway at a 4 December 2014 orientation seminar held at the Nokomis Park Community Center.  About 15 new Ambassadors participated.  Deputy Cathy Duff of the Sarasota Sheriff’s office provided a law enforcement perspective, while Sarasota County employees Vicki French, Brenda Canales, and Ed Wolfenbarger explained the County volunteer application process, required background checks, reporting aspects, patrol duties and responsibilities.  Patrollers will offer helpful advice to trail users, report potential law enforcement concerns to the Sheriff’s office, and maintenance needs to the County Parks office.  Patrollers completing the volunteer application process received a high visibility Ambassador Patrol vest to wear while on patrol.  See the Trail Ambassadors tab on the left for more information.        

    * * Another $10K Closer to Bringing The Legacy Trail to Downtown Sarasota! * *

    dawn on a chilly morn start

    A chilly dawn greets FLT volunteers

    The first annual FLT 5K Fun Run/Walk and other corporate donations have raised a most impressive $10,000 towards the Extend the Legacy Trail Campaign.  This effort aims to help pay for an ongoing feasibility study to bring this multi-use urban trail from its current northern terminus at Culverhouse Park to downtown Sarasota!

    And they're off!

    And they’re off!

    An unseasonably chilly Sarasota morning greeted participants on November first 2014 for the inaugural FLT 5K Fun Run/Walk.  Braced with hot coffee and with car headlights illuminating the night, volunteers gathered in the wee hours to set up tables for the start and finish line at Culverhouse Park.  Despite the cool start, the morning sun quickly warmed the air and brought

    We LOVE this trail!

    We LOVE this trail!

    a lovely fall morning, signaling the end of another hot Sarasota summer.  Participants got some exercise and met new friends.  Runners and walkers agreed it lived up to its billing – its was a FUN event for a great cause.  All received an Extend the Legacy Trail T-shirt and a light, nutritious breakfast upon their return, complements of Doctor’s Hospital.  Thank you to Doctors Hospital and our other event sponsors:  The Silverstein Institute, Coppola Realty, Heritage Family Chiropractic, and The Bucket Fillers.  We hope you can join us for next year’s event if you couldn’t make it this time.

    Finish line food

    Finish line food

    With a growing number of trail users now exceeding 120,000 per year, it’s not surprising that proximity to The Legacy Trail is often included as an amenity in new and existing home sales listings for neighborhoods that abut or are close by.  Real estate developers and realtors see real economic value in the presence of this multi-use trail.  

    Justin Powell, VP Palmer Ranch Holdings Ltd presents a check to Margaret Brading of FLT

    Justin Powell, VP Palmer Ranch Holdings Ltd presents a check to Margaret Brading of FLT

    We are deeply grateful to the generous donations provided by real estate developers Taylor Morrison Homes, Pulte Homes, Inc., and Palmer Ranch Holdings, Ltd. to support the Extend Campaign.  Regrettably, Steve Kempton, Division President for Taylor Morrison was unavailable for a photo recognizing their donation. 

    Michael Woolery, Land Div Mgr for Pulte Homes Inc presents a check to Margaret Brading of FLT

    Michael Woolery, Land Div Mgr for Pulte Homes Inc presents a check to Margaret Brading of FLT

    A special note of gratitude goes to longtime FLT volunteer Margaret Brading who conceived, planned, and with the help of a few dozen other FLT volunteers managed the 5K Fun Run/Walk event.  She also sought these corporate donations.  All Legacy Trail users benefit from the tireless efforts of our FLT volunteers who graciously give their time and effort to help stage Legacy Trail fund raising events like this one.  

    The 5K Fun Run/Walk and these corporate donations have, together, brought us $10,000 closer to our fundraising goal to support the Extend the Legacy Trail Campaign.

    Click HERE for the current funding status.  See the Trail Extension tab on the left for the latest news on the ongoing feasibility study to extend The Legacy Trail.


    * * New Surrey Reservation System Implemented * *

    Sarasota County now includes the ability to schedule and reserve a ride on the Surrey.  See the Surrey section now located in the FLT Events tab on the left of this page for details.


    * * Free Helmets & Fitting for Children at National Night Out * *

    Getting a good fit!

    Getting a good fit!

    As part of its safety outreach efforts, Friends of The Legacy Trail, partnering with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office at National Night Out on October 7th, fitted over 140 children with free bicycle helmets.  The helmets were provided by the Florida Department of Transportation.  Florida regulations require that a bicycle rider or passenger under 16 years of age must wear an approved bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and securely fastened on the child’s head.  Passengers include childen riding in a trailer attached to a bicycle.

    More free bike helmet and fitting events are planned in the future.  


    * * Sharky’s donates $2,500 to the Extend the Legacy Trail Campaign * *  

    Sharky's delivers $2,500 to Extend the Legacy Trail

    Sharky’s delivers $2,500 to Extend the Legacy Trail

    Sharky’s Ride the Beaches recently presented a check for $2,500 to the Friends of the Legacy Trail to be applied to the Extend the Legacy Trail Campaign.  Sharky’s on the Pier is a popular restaurant in Venice, FL.  Marc Alton (fourth from the left) of Sharky’s presented the donation to Friends of The Legacy Trail (FLT) President Bruce Dillon for the Extend the Legacy Campaign in appreciation of FLT’s assistance with Sharky’s 12th Annual Ride The Beaches charitable event held this past April.  Pictured with Marc and Bruce are (from the left) Mike Gippert, Shirley Sontag, Wendy Kuhns Alton, MJ Rouvet, John & Nancy Stormer and Ken Yahraus.  Funds raised through the Extend campaign are designated toward paying half the cost of an ongoing engineering study to determine the feasibility of extending The Legacy Trail 8.6 miles north from its current end in Palmer Ranch to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota.

    * * U.S. Representative Buchanan Tours The Legacy Trail * *

    image001Congressman Vern Buchanan (fifth from the left), city officials from St. Petersburg, and members of the Trust for Public Lands (TPL) recently met at the north end of the Legacy Trail.  The group rode the entire length of The Legacy Trail from Culverhouse Nature Park Trailhead to the Venice Train Depot and back.  During the ride they viewed features of the Legacy Trail and discussed its eight mile extension to downtown Sarasota.  Congressman Buchanan is an avid cyclist and a strong supporter of efforts to extend The Legacy Trail.  The City of St. Petersburg is seeking an extension of the Pinellas Trail, and TPL is working on The Legacy Trail and the Pinellas Trail extensions to acquire the railroad right-of-way.  For more information click the Trail Extension tab on the left.

    * * Sarasota Manatee Bicycle Club Donates $2000.00 to the Extend the Legacy Feasibility Study * * 


    The Friends of The Legacy Trail (FLT)  received a $2000.00 donation from the Sarasota Manatee Bike Club (SMBC) toward the Legacy Trail Extension Campaign.  A digital photo is attached. Pictured left to right are SMBC President Bud Gaunce, SMBC members Mike Hart, Patty Riley, Edie Perkins, Bob DiSabatino, Jim Schneck and FLT Extension Campaign Chair Bruce Dillon.  


    * * Weather Channel Visits the Legacy Trail * *

    It was another perfectly sunny day when the Weather Channel came to Sarasota County to film a short video on The Legacy Trail.  Check it out!


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     Order your Extend the Trail T-Shirt


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    * * Road ID * *

    Whenever you are out on The Legacy Trail, the FLT recommends you always carry some form of identification, medical alerts, and contact information.  Road ID provides a convenient way to do so.  If an accident or medical emergency leaves you unable to speak, emergency responders can quickly identify you and contact someone knowledgeable.  Road ID provides a convenient way to do so.  If you click and buy a Road ID from this link, a small portion of the sale will be donated back to the FLT.



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