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Our Mission

We assist the Florida Trail Association in its goals to build and maintain hiking trails across the State of Florida, while providing educational and recreational opportunities for our members and the public that inspire others to care for our diverse natural spaces.

Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation

On Monday, April 26, 2021, Seminole State Forest personnel, volunteers, and guests toured the Central Florida Zoo's Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation off Brantley Branch Road in Cassia, Florida. Nick Clark, Reptile and Amphibian Specialist for the Orianne Center lead the tour.

The Orianne Center opened in 2012 as a place to hatch, feed and raise, and eventually transplant snakes into historical areas of habitation. Eastern Indigo snakes suffered losses due to habitat loss, highway fatalities, wanton killings, and over collection for the pet trade.

The range of the Eastern Indigo snake is currently restricted to southern Georgia and peninsular Florida, with isolated populations in the panhandle and southern Alabama. Their historic range extended even as far as Louisiana. The snake is non-venomous and is generally docile unless scared or hurt and though non-venomous, can bite. The snake eats small animals including venomous snakes. In some cases, the Eastern Indigo Snake is immune to an adversary's venom, for example the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake.

During the tour each phase of an Eastern Indigo snakes entry into the world was shown. From conception, how the new snake is raised and fed initially in the Herpetarium, to the point where the snakes are kept, after they leave the Herpetarium, in separate enclosures outdoors. The onsite snake clinic was also visited where sick snakes are isolated from the population at large for treatment. In the clinic was found not only Eastern Indigo snakes but also other snakes including the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake in separate enclosures.

Eventually, healthy Eastern Indigo snakes will be transplanted into areas, where the snake has suffered loss, to ensure it's longevity.

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Posted June 12, 2021

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Map of the Highlanders Section of the Florida National Scenic Trail

(Click on the box on the top right hand side to open a larger map)

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Note: The trail section from Route 46 in Seminole State Forest to Blackwater Creek is maintained by the Central Florida Chapter

List of Trailheads With Established Parking

Seminole State Forest

Seminole State Forest (Bear Pond Trail Entrance)
28.819608, -81.428600
State Forest Access Fee Required

Seminole State Forest (Cassia Trailhead)
28.890285, -81.461670
State Forest Access Fee Required

Ocala National Forest

Clearwater Lake Trailhead
(Turn Right Before Campground)
28.976761, -81.550213
No Parking or Access Fee

Route 19 Trailhead
29.074083, -81.629688
No Parking or Access Fee

You are Welcome to Join Us

Please check Highlanders Activities under Chapter Events for upcoming meeting dates

The Highlanders Chapter meets at the Leesburg Public Library, Meeting Room A
100 E Main Street, Leesburg, FL

Meetings begin at 5:00 PM sharp