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Spring trail season in Madison opens with dedication

Submitted by the Madison County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism

The official kickoff of the spring trail season takes place Saturday, April 8, with individuals, families, schools, clubs and fitness groups invited to break out into nature during the Four Freedoms Trail public restroom dedication from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Pinetta Volunteer Fire and Rescue, 509 NE Persimmon Drive.

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is hosting events nationwide on April 8 for the Opening Day and official kickoff of the spring season on the nation’s trails. Locally, Pinetta Volunteer Fire and Rescue has graciously offered to provide lunch at their building for the celebration.

Madison County Commissioner Wayne Vickers, who worked for the railroad along with his grandfather, will display his antique railroad lanterns at the Four Freedoms Trail Opening Day.

Enjoy the music with Amber Lee Abbott and speaker Roy Milliron for this nature fest. Then see the gorgeous canopied Four Freedoms Trail for spring hiking, cycling, canoeing or horseback riding. The Four Freedoms Trail leads to a scenic overlook and picnic tables on the Withlacoochee River, where the old railroad trestle still stands.

Completed in 2012, the Four Freedoms Trail in Madison County was constructed as a joint effort between the county, Suwannee River Water Management District, the Office of Greenways and Trails and the Florida Department of Transportation.

The 12-mile recreational trail extends north from the city limits of Madison to the Withlacoochee River at the Florida-Georgia border. This past summer, artist Danny Graves completed a Pacific 511 Steam Engine mural on the side of the new Four Freedoms Trail public restroom. Steam engine trains ran from the 1920s to 1950s in Madison County.

Read more about Florida-Georgia trains inside the informational enclosure on back side of the new public restroom wall. Madison County offers the largest cycling course in the state through the Four Freedoms Trail and 103-mile Bike Loop. Maps from the Madison County Chamber of Commerce will be available April 8 for the dedication ceremony. For more information, call the Chamber at (850) 973-2788.