Birdwatching and wildlife viewing in Florida is fun and easy when out hiking or biking on trails. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has established the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT) to direct people to the best locations for bird and wildlife viewing. The trail is a 2,000-mile, self-guided highway trail connecting nearly 500 sites with excellent birdwatching, wildlife viewing or educational opportunities in the state.
In a recent FWC press release Gov. Rick Scott said, "Wildlife viewing in Florida is a major reason why our state is the most popular tourist destination in the country. I am proud that Floridians and our visitors can now better enjoy the wildlife our state has to offer, while creating more opportunities for Florida families."
Highway signs identify the GFBWT sites throughout Florida. The signs bear the swallow-tailed kite logo for easy recognition of the GFBWT. Last year, signs were placed in 11 southern Florida counties to point people to 113 new birding and wildlife viewing sites from Sarasota south to Key West.
To augment the numerous road signs FWC offers detailed guide booklets and a mobile device application. The new 140-page East Section guide book (2012), which includes the Orlando area, and the 60-page Panhandle guide book may be ordered from the Wildlife Foundation of Florida website for $5.00 each. The West section guidebook, South section guidebook and the 2002 East Section guidebook may be obtained free of charge from the FWC website.
The free mobile application "Nature Viewing Along the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail" can be downloaded from iTunes.com and Play.Google.com. Identify 200 birds, 106 butterflies and 247 flowering plants along the GFBWT and throughout Florida with this app. Users will find beautiful color photographs, basic descriptions of each species and descriptions of common habitats found in Florida. For convenience, 491 sites along the GFBWT are listed with contact information, mileage to the site, a map and directions (google maps).
For more information about the GFBWT visit the website.