New trail could mean big things for Liberty, Gadsden & Jackson Counties

Alum Bluff near Bristol is believed by some to be the site of the original Garden of Eden!

A proposed new hiking trail that will link Bristol in Liberty County with Chattahoochee in Gadsden County could bring a significant economic impact to areas both east and west of the Apalachicola River.

Two Egg TV’s Rachael Conrad attended a public hearing on the proposal and provides an in depth look at what it could mean:

The proposed route of the Chattahoochee to Bristol (C2B) Trail includes some of the most remarkable views in Florida along with such rare trees and plants as the Florida Torreya and the Florida Yew. The trail would link to existing trails at Torreya State Park and the Nature Conservancy’s Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve.

A crowd of interested citizens attended a public hearing in Chattahoochee on May 22.

The Apalachee Regional Planning Council and Chattahoochee Main Street hosted a public hearing on the proposed trail on May 22nd. Among other key points, those present learned that the trail could be the start of a major system of trails that would link Liberty, Gadsden, Jackson and Bay Counties.

Suggestions were made for refining the proposed route of the trail to avoid flood-prone areas and to  provide better vistas.

A crowd of interested citizens attended a public hearing in Chattahoochee on May 22.

Several hunters asked what impact such a trail might have on hunting season in the area. They were told that any impact would be minimal because most hikers avoid trails during hunting season or make sure to wear orange so they can be seen.

Most of those attending agreed with Ben Chandler of Chattahoochee Main Street, who believes the proposed 20-mile trail will bring low impact tourism to the community.

He feels nature-oriented tourism will generate a good economic impact without damaging the pristine natural resources of the upper Apalachicola River or the peaceful charm of communities along the route.

The proposed trail would connect a series of existing systems such as Chattahoochee’s award-winning trails.

Rett Daniels, Director of Parks in Jackson County, agreed. He said the effort to route the Florida National Scenic Trail from the top of the Chattahoochee to Bristol Trail into Jackson County could provide a solid economic impact for rural communities.

Daniels said that the effort would require strong support from community members and would take several years to complete.

The final decision rests with the U.S. Forest Service, which supervises the Florida National Scenic Trail.

A map showing the proposed trail along with the suggested Jackson County extension of the Florida National Scenic Trail. 

Ghost Town of Butler, Florida

Butler and Butler’s Ferry (Butler Landing) as shown on a 1935 map of Jackson County, Florida.

Butler was a thriving Chattahoochee River community during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It is a ghost town today.

The village was named for the Butler family that once lived there. At its height it was the location of a store, sawmill, gristmill, turpentine still, cotton gin and paddlewheel steamboat landing.

Butler was demolished in 1951, however, after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers acquired the site during the construction of the Jim Woodruff Dam. Lake Seminole, the 37,500 acre reservoir formed by the dam, was expected to flood community. The waters of the lake did rise and inundate parts of the site, but much of old Butler remains above water.

Click the play button to watch our special tour of the Ghost Town of Butler, Florida:

If you would like to visit the site of Butler, it is located within the Apalachee Wildlife Management Area 6.2 miles north of U.S. 90 at Sneads, Florida. The community surrounded the intersection of River Road (SR-271) and Butler Road.

This map will help you find it:

 

Chattahoochee kicks off 200th anniversary of Scott Massacre of 1817

Chattahoochee and community leaders gather to announce plans for a 200th anniversary commemoration of the Scott Massacre of 1817.
Chattahoochee and community leaders gather to announce plans for a 200th anniversary commemoration of the Scott Massacre of 1817.

Chattahoochee Main Street and the City of Chattahoochee have officially kicked off the 200th anniversary commemoration of the Scott Massacre of 1817.

This battle was the first U.S. defeat of the Seminole Wars and took place at what is now River Landing Park in Chattahoochee. A large force of Red Stick Creek, Seminole, Miccosukee and maroon (Black Seminole) warriors captured a U.S. Army supply boat commanded by Lt. Richard W. Scott of the 7th Infantry Regiment.

The attack ended with the deaths of 34 U.S. soldiers, 6 women and 4 children. A seventh woman, Mrs. Elizabeth Stewart, was taken prisoner and later freed by Brig. Gen. William McIntosh’s U.S. Creek Brigade at the Battle of Econfina.

The kickoff press conference formally announced plans for a commemorative event that will be held at River Landing Park in Chattahoochee on December 1 & 2, 2017:

Plans for the event include living history encampments and demonstrations, memorial services, exhibits, vendors, a marker unveiling, music and entertainment, a chance to meet Florida authors, a military parade and more. The event has been named an official event for the 7th Infantry Living History Association, which portrays the regiment of Lt. Scott and many of his men.

Additional reenactors, vendors, exhibitors and entertainers are needed. If you are interested in the era of the First Seminole War (1817-1818) and would like to participate, please email Chattahoochee Main Street at info@chattahoocheemainstreet.org or call (850) 663-2323/(623) 249-0076.

Here are some additional photos from this week’s press conference:

Dale Cox, author of "The Scott Massacre of 1817," speaks at the press conference.
Dale Cox, author of “The Scott Massacre of 1817,” speaks at the press conference.
DSC_0017
Discussion about the history of River Landing Park and the Scott Massacre of 1817 continued long after the end of the press conference.
Medley4
“Lizzie got a gun!” Elizabeth Stewart (portrayed by Two Egg TV’s Rachael Conrad) shows off her weaponry skills.
Medley3
Elizabeth Stewart (L), the sole female survivor of the battle, talks with Creek reenactors.
Medley2
Living history was on display at the announcement press conference.

To learn more about River Landing Park, site of the Scott Massacre of 1817, please enjoy this video from Chattahoochee Main Street, Visit Florida and Two Egg TV: