Florida on a Tankful

Destination: Parks and Trails in Hendry County

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To many, parks and trails are considered an important part of any community. They provide community members a chance to enjoy the outdoors as well as receive physical and mental health benefits.

Having access to places, such as parks and trails, designed for physical activity encourages residents and visitors to participate in physical activity and do so more often. Physical activity can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes, and some cancers and even strengthens bones and muscles. It also improves one’s
mental health and mood.

Fortunately for residents and visitors of Hendry County, there are several options:

LAKE OKEECHOBEE SCENIC TRAIL
Designated as a segment of the Florida National Scenic Trail in 1993, the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (LOST) is a 115-mile hike atop the Herbert Hoover Dike. The view is extraordinary — the 35-foot elevation allows the hiker to enjoy the beauty of Lake Okeechobee, at more than 730 square miles the second largest freshwater lake in the United States. Other impressive sights are the fields of sugarcane with silvery tassels waving in the breezes, groves of orange trees, vibrant green crops growing in the black muck, and a variety of wildlife from egrets to alligators. You can even fish along the way. The LOST is open year-round for a variety of uses including hiking, biking, horseback riding, birdwatching, fishing and photography. Fourteen primitive camping sites are provided by the Corps of Engineers.

CLEWISTON WALKING TOURS
The weather is perfect for taking one of four walking tours through the residential areas of Clewiston. Pick up a free map at City Hall or the Chamber of Commerce. The map provides Clewiston's history and information about the homes as you pass by. All the tours start at the historic Clewiston Inn, and depending upon the trail you chose, you may wander by historic houses, the Roland Martin Marina, or the Clewiston Museum. Along the way, you will enjoy watching the birds native to our area such as the egrets, blue herons, and ibises. Take the green trail and you’ll see Lake Okeechobee, the second largest lake within the United States. The view is stunning and it’s a great place for waterfront picnicking. The trails range from 1 mile to 2.9 miles and are identified by different colored arrows on the sidewalks that correspond with the tour map. If you are not in the mood to walk, take a driving tour. The ride is relaxing and interesting. Whether you are walking or riding, this is the perfect way to become acquainted with “America’s Sweetest Town.”

BIG WATER HERITAGE TRAIL
Big Water Heritage Trail was officially opened in May 2003. It is a regional driving tour on state, county, and city streets that link historical, cultural, natural, recreational, and educational points of interest in fi ve counties surrounding Lake Okeechobee. The counties are Hendry, Glades, Okeechobee, Martin, and Palm Beach. The Heritage Trail connects to the Lake Okeechobee Segment of the Florida National Scenic Trail, offering visitors and community members an array of recreational, educational, and historical opportunities. Highway signs and brochures direct the motorists to points of interest where they will find informative kiosks and outdoor interpretive and recreational activities at destinations such as Florida’s state parks and preserves, federal parks and reserves, and cultural points of interest.

For a complete list of parks in the Clewiston and LaBelle areas, please refer to the 10th Edition of the Hendry County Guide, available online at southcentralfloridalife.com/hendrycoguide.

This tourism feature is brought to you by Handy Food Stores, who encourages you to get out and enjoy your own backyard and all the things our region has to offer!

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