Sunshine State Seekers and the Florida Excursionist public
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The Florida Madcaps

Sunshine State Seekers and the Florida Excursionist

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A podcast about Florida’s conservation and recreation. There is much more to Florida than theme parks and overcrowded beaches. Three veteran Florida enthusiasts Chris, Chelsey, and Ryan share their travel experiences and perspective for exploring the Sunshine State. Each episode will delve into the natural and fascinating aspects of Florida, including the trails, beaches, springs, history, ecological issues, and recreational opportunities.
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps discuss the various aspects of how hurricanes can impact recreation in Florida from trail closures to coastal geographic changes. Please subscribe! Shares and reviews are much appreciated! Get your FREE sticker from the Florida Springs Council and sign up to be a springs advocate at https://www.floridas…
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps discuss the roadside oddities that they have discovered, often quite by accident, as they have road-tripped around Florida. Please subscribe! Shares and reviews are much appreciated! Get your FREE sticker from the Florida Springs Council and sign up to be a springs advocate at https://www.floridasprings…
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Send us a Text Message. While summer brings some fantastic recreating weather, it also brings crowds to our outdoor spaces. This week the Madcaps discuss how they navigate recreating in Florida's natural areas during the peak season. Please subscribe! Shares and reviews are much appreciated! Get your FREE sticker from the Florida Springs Council an…
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps were treated to a hike through Split Oak Forest with the President of the Friends of Split Oak Forest, Valerie Anderson. Afterwards, we recorded an episode right at Split Oak and Valerie outlined the current struggle to protect a conservation property that was originally set aside for Gopher Tortoise Ha…
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps discuss their favorite parks and hiking destinations that are in West Central Florida from scrub to Native American mounds, the Madcaps discuss a few parks in this area. Please subscribe! Shares and reviews are much appreciated! Get your FREE sticker from the Florida Springs Council and sign up to be a …
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps discuss some of Florida's amazing habitats, from the limestone trails of the Florida Keys, to the ancient dunes of Lake Wales Ridge, we talk about many different habitats of Florida and what makes them special. Please subscribe! Shares and reviews are much appreciated! Get your FREE sticker from the Flo…
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Send us a Text Message. This week we were fortunate enough to have Kim and Ashley join us who do tours on one of the two designated Wild and Scenic Rivers in Florida the Wekiva River (including Rock Springs Run and The Emerald Cut). This week we listen to some of the fascinating aspects of the river and some of the more interesting events that they…
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps discuss the fascinating state park. Wakulla Springs! The spring, trails, boat tours, and elegant lodge were all discussed. Check out the park website: https://www.floridastateparks.org/WakullaSprings Please subscribe! Shares and reviews are much appreciated! Get your FREE sticker from the Florida Spring…
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Send us a Text Message. In this episode, the Madcaps share their favorite natural areas that they have visited around Tallahassee. Here are a few points that we discussed: Lake Talquin State Park https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/lake-talquin-state-park Lake Talquin State Forest https://www.fdacs.gov/Forest-Wildfire/Our-Forests/Sta…
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps talk about the Florida National Scenic Trail through Osceola National Forest as well as state and county recreation areas. We discuss history, natural features such as waterfalls, and hiking along the St Mary's River. Please subscribe! Shares and reviews are much appreciated! Get your FREE sticker from …
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps welcome back Ryan Smart, executive director of the Florida Springs Council. We discuss the various bills that we covered in previous podcasts and what their fate was during this session. Ryan Smart also guides us through the budget that is being sent to the governor for signing including how funding for…
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps talk with Brent Fannin the director of Gopher Games, a documentary highlighting the plight of the vanishing gopher tortoise population in Florida. This week we discuss how loose regulations and aggressive development is causing habitat loss for the venerable gopher tortoise. Film Premier (free admission…
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Send us a Text Message. In this week's episode, we discuss Crystal River, Florida. There is plenty to do from visiting springs, hiking, Native American historical sites, and much more. Info regarding manatees at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. https://www.fws.gov/sites/default/files/documents/CrystalRiverTearsheet16.pdf Crystal River Preser…
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps discuss two very well-known springs in Florida. Weeki Wachee and Homosassa Springs. Both springs were once Florida attractions before being acquired by the state. Now they still function yet with a more conservation-minded experience. Homosassa Springs (home of Lu the Hippo) https://www.floridastatepark…
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps discuss some of the wildlife that may have notorious reputations yet are not as harmful as they may seem. Snakes, gators, bears, and more are discussed this week by the Madcaps who have encountered them all in the wild. Please subscribe! Shares and reviews are much appreciated! Get your FREE sticker fro…
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Send us a Text Message. This week we enjoy the perspective of Florida outdoor adventures from the entire Sunshine State Seeker family. They discuss adventures that are suitable for all family members as well as some tips on how to make them enjoyable for everyone. Please subscribe! Shares and reviews are much appreciated! Get your FREE sticker from…
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Florida Madcaps welcome back Ryan Smart, Executive Director at the Florida Springs Council to discuss the 2024 Florida Legislative Session so far as it has just passed the halfway point. We discuss bills affecting our springs, Florida Wildlife Corridor, Black Bears, single-use plastics, and much more. This year…
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps discuss the basics of backcountry camping in Florida. From the fundamentals to our favorite spots, we have you covered! Some of the agencies in Florida that offer primitive or backcountry camping are: Florida Forest Service https://www.fdacs.gov/Forest-Wildfire/Our-Forests/State-Forests/State-Forest-Rec…
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps discuss two sites in Florida that have a significant historical significance, particularly with those that were seeking freedom from slavery and oppression. Fort Mose located in St Augustine https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/fort-mose-historic-state-park Prospect Bluff is located North …
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps discuss a few parks are areas they have visited along the Forgotten Coast. We talk about albino deer, seaside camping, and as always....hiking. Here are some links to the areas we discussed. Bald Point https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/bald-point-state-park Ochlocknee River https://www.…
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Send us a Text Message. This week our guest is Ryan Smart of the Florida Springs Council he discusses the bills that will negatively impact our environment making their way through this legislative session. Links to the bills are: SB 738 Environmental Management https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2024/738 SB 1126 Regulation of Auxilary Container…
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Send us a Text Message. This week Chelsey and Chris share their passion for "Swamp Hiking" or hiking where there is standing water and give tips on techniques, gear, and things to know. Please subscribe! Shares and reviews are much appreciated! Get your FREE sticker from the Florida Springs Council and sign up to be a springs advocate at https://ww…
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Send us a Text Message. The 54,000 acres of Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is the largest intact dry prairie left in Florida, it used to span millions of acres. As the 2nd largest park in Florida, it offers excellent stargazing, hiking, and camping. https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/kissimmee-prairie-preserve-state-park Plea…
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Send us a Text Message. With miles of trails, a variety of recreation opportunities, endangered species, and Trapper Nelson history, Jonathan Dickinson State Park is a fantastic place to visit. https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/jonathan-dickinson-state-park. Please subscribe! Shares and reviews are much appreciated! Get your FREE s…
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Send us a Text Message. Leave No Trace is an outdoor ethics organization that focuses on seven principles to observe when recreating outdoors to have a better experience and preserve natural areas. This week, the Madcaps discuss their experience using the Leave No Trace principles while spending time outdoors in Florida. Check out the Leave No Trac…
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps cover the parks and natural areas around Seminole County and how it has prioritized conservation while being close to Orlando. https://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/departments-services/leisure-services/parks-trails-and-natural-lands/ Please subscribe! Shares and reviews are much appreciated! Get your FREE s…
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Send us a Text Message. From the Gulf of Mexico to the St Johns River is the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway., which was once planned to be the Cross Florida Barge Canal. The park is named after the famed environmental activist who opposed the canal and was instrumental in getting it deauthorized. The barge canal was about thirty percen…
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Send us a Text Message. This week we discuss maintenance teams along the Florida National Scenic Trail. Maintenance teams ensure the trail is marked and traversable. Also volunteers can enjoy some of the best of Florida's outdoors during multiday trail maintenance opportunities. Florida National Scenic Trail Volunteer Resources: https://floridatrai…
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Send us a Text Message. This week we cover the various aspects of Ichetuknee Springs State Park with former ranger Steve Earl. We also discussed Steve's book about Ichetuknee called "Sacred Waters." To order Steve's Book "Sacred Waters" https://upf.com/authorbooks.asp?lname=EARL&fname=STEVEN The Ichetunknee State Park Website https://www.floridasta…
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Send us a Text Message. This week on Madcaps, join us for an in-depth exploration of the Florida National Scenic Trail. From the southern terminus to the northern terminus and every scenic point in between, we not only cover the trail's geography but also dive into its rich history, providing a comprehensive perspective on this captivating outdoor …
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Send us a Text Message. Charles Bronson State Forest is located near Christmas, Florida has trails and camping. it also borders a number of other important conservation areas such as Orlando Wetlands Park and Little Big Econ State Forest. One of the more notable trails is the Joshua Creek Trail Loop which is a bit longer than nine miles, it also tr…
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Send us a Text Message. This week we discuss how we can help protect Florida's fragile environment when it is under assault from special interests, apathetic regulators, and political greenwashing. This week we have our first repeat guest. Ryan Smart is the executive director of the Florida Springs Council which not only engages in legal battles to…
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Send us a Text Message. In the 1950s the Florida Park Service opened a number of Florida State Parks that were segregated. Some were turned over to other land managers to continue to be recreation areas, and others are still Florida State Parks today. One segregated park faded into history as it was on borrowed land and was returned to its original…
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Send us a Text Message. This week we discuss Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, her connection to her farm at Cross Creek, and how it can still be visited today. Below are links to some of the things discussed during the episode. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historic Site https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/marjorie-kinnan-rawlings-historic…
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Send us a Text Message. This week we discuss Koreshan State Park in Estero Florida and touch on a few of the surrounding parks such as Lovers Key, Delnor Wiggins, and Mound Key State Parks. Below are some of the links to the parks discussed. Please note that some of these parks may not be open or have limited access due to hurricane damage sustaine…
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Send us a Text Message. Here are some of the areas we discussed: Tates Hell: https://www.fdacs.gov/Forest-Wildfire/Our-Forests/State-Forests/Tate-s-Hell-State-Forest Prospect Bluff: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/florida/recarea/?recid=83634 Apalachicola National Forest https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/apalachicola Ormon House https://www.floridastate…
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Send us a Text Message. This week we discuss De Leon Springs, Blue Springs, and Hontoon Island State Parks. All are relatively close to each other and offer a variety of adventures. They are perfect to visit alone or bundle them together in a single-day trip. Deleon Springs: https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/de-leon-springs-state-p…
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Send us a Text Message. This week we interview our very own Chris Stevens and discuss some of his endeavors as he works with various organizations to update hiking guides and apps on trails around the state of Florida. Florida Hikes is our go-to hiking resource for hiking in Florida: https://floridahikes.com/ Please subscribe! Shares and reviews ar…
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Send us a Text Message. Palatka is a small town with much to experience that lies just beneath the surface. Here are some of the places we discussed in this episode: Ravine Gardens https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/ravine-gardens-state-park Rice Creek Conservation Area https://www.sjrwmd.com/lands/recreation/rice-creek/ Angel's Din…
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Send us a Text Message. Cathy Salustri earned her master’s degree in Florida Studies from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, which, to those who know her, is no great surprise, given her intense passion for all things Florida. Her first book, Backroads of Paradise (UPF, 2016), chronicles Cathy’s more-than-5,000 mile-road trip along Flo…
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Send us a Text Message. The Tomoka Basin is between Ormond and Flagler Beach and the parks in that area are mostly coastal. A lot of Florida History is in this area from the initial Spanish expeditions to the Seminole Wars. Today we cover Tomoka State Park, Addison Blockhouse, Bulow State Park, The Fairchild Oak, and Gamble Rodgers State Park. Acti…
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps discuss the coastal recreation spots from Fernandina to Mayport in the Northeast Florida area. Fernandina Plaza, Fort Clinch, American Beach, Amelia Island, Big Talbot Island, Pumpkin Hill Preserve, Yellow Bluff, and Little Talbot Island are the state parks covered. Activities discussed are: camping, hi…
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Send us a Text Message. Chesley shares her experience on spending time in the Florida outdoors during her pregnancy. Special thanks to Misti for suggesting the subject. Please subscribe! Shares and reviews are much appreciated! Get your FREE sticker from the Florida Springs Council and sign up to be a springs advocate at https://www.floridaspringsc…
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Send us a Text Message. This week we discuss the plight of the manatees in Florida during the past, present, and future. Our guest Craig Pittman has written an eye-opening book called Manatee Insanity. He also has the Welcome to Florida (WTF) podcast with Chadd Scott. Welcome to Florida Podcast https://www.buzzsprout.com/1169570 A list of Craig's B…
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps discuss their adventure to Canaveral National Seashore where they enjoyed the beach, Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, and a bioluminescence paddle all in one day. Activities include swimming, wildlife viewing, and paddleboarding. Canaveral National Seashore https://www.nps.gov/cana/index.htm Please subscribe!…
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Madcaps discuss how to enjoy the springs this summer in a responsible manner so that every recreator can not only enjoy the springs but leave them better than they found them! Please subscribe! Shares and reviews are much appreciated! Get your FREE sticker from the Florida Springs Council and sign up to be a sp…
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Send us a Text Message. This week the Florida Madcaps discuss their experiences visiting Florida Caverns State Park and taking the underground tour. Not only is it a rare natural feature in Florida it is also a Civilian Conservation Corps-era state park. Here Florida history, underground caves, and many other features are sure to impress. Please su…
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Send us a Text Message. The Madcaps discuss their favorite beach state parks along the Pandhandle/ Emerald Coast/ 30A region. Parks incluide: Camp Helen, Topsail Hill, Grayton Beach, and Deer Lake State Park. Activities include: snorkeling, swimming, camping, hiking, paddle boarding, and kayaking. Please subscribe! Shares and reviews are much appre…
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Send us a Text Message. The Madcaps discuss the state parks located in the Miami/Ft Lauderdale area. Some of the best beaches and recreation experiences are available at five gems along the coast. This week we cover: The Barnacle, Bill Baggs Cape Florida, Oleta River, Hugh Taylor Birch, and Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park. Activities incl…
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Send us a Text Message. The Florida Madcaps discuss recreation spots that are on current or previous military installations. Armed Forces bases around the state are substantial conservation lands and make up a significant part of the Florida Wildlife Corridor. From hiking across airforce bases to exploring abandoned naval installations, this episod…
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