Florida's Greenways and Trails: A Proven Paradigm for Community Development, Personal Mobility and Public Health
Featuring Dale Allen, President, Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation
Although a native of Florida, Mr. Allen received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. After graduation he worked in education in the Washington, DC, area until 1979 when he moved to Tallahassee to earn his Masters Degree in Geography and Land Use Planning from Florida State University.
Following a brief tour of duty as a Legislative Assistant on the Natural Resources Committee of the Florida House of Representatives, Mr. Allen began his almost 30 year career with The Trust for Public Land in 1981 (TPL is a national not-for-profit land conservation organization headquartered in San Francisco), and retired in 2009. During his almost three decades of public benefit service with the Trust for Public Land, Mr. Allen served both as a conservation land buyer and TPL's Southeast Regional Director. In this capacity Mr. Allen had lead responsibility for conservation initiatives in nine southeast states and supervised a staff of sixty and a budget of over $25 million annually.
Dale became seriously involved with the greenways and trails movement in 1985 when he led the effort to convince the Florida Department of Transportation to acquire the abandoned Tallahassee-St. Marks railroad corridor from CSX as a possible "rail banking" acquisition. Following FDOT's successful purchase, he worked with the Florida Legislature and the Florida Department of Natural Resources to secure the funding to develop this 16.5 mile corridor as Florida first-ever "rails-to-trails" project.
Subsequent to this first successful rail-trail conversion, Mr. Allen worked to advance the initiative that became the Florida Greenways and Trails Program now administered by the Office of Greenways and Trails in the Department of Environmental Protection. Many hundreds of miles of abandoned railroad right-of-ways have been purchased through this program and converted into paved trails to be used by hundreds of thousands of citizens and visitors annually. During this period Dale and the Trust for Public Land worked closely with Orange County to re-assemble the fragmented railroad corridor that is now the extraordinary West Orange Trail.
Following his retirement from TPL in 2009, Mr. Allen served as the President of the Florida Greenways & Trails Foundation for six years and is now acting as the Foundation's Executive Director. The FGT Foundation is Florida's leading advocacy organization for a statewide system of connected off-road and shared use paved trails. On behalf of the Foundation, Mr. Allen spearheaded a campaign to "Close the Gaps" among existing trail segments in central Florida, and helped secure a multi- million dollar commitment from the Florida Legislature and the Florida Department of Transportation to construct the "Coast-to-Coast Connector", a unique project that would link the Atlantic Ocean at the Canaveral National Seashore to St. Petersburg and the Gulf of Mexico via a non-motorized trail. The Coast-to-Coast Connector is currently under development by FDOT and is scheduled to be completed around 2020.
Most recently the Florida Greenways & Trails Foundation spearheaded the effort to create a new program in the FDOT called "SUN Trails". Thanks to the leadership of Senate President Andy Gardiner, this program also secured a recurring funding commitment of $25 million annually to design and construct over 2000 miles of regionally-connected paved trails in Florida--the first program of its kind in North America.
As a self-taught naturalist and devoted organic gardener, Dale is passionate about the critical importance of an active outdoor existence to a healthy and balanced life. And as a recreational bicyclist, Mr. Allen and his wife, Karen, have traveled across the United States in order to explore the hundreds of "rail-trail" conversions currently in existence. From Boston to Boise and Baton Rouge, these trails are changing communities and the way America thinks of personal mobility.
Free and open to public. Seating is limited. RSVP by registering (click on registration tab).
Thursday, October 22, 2015
UCF Downtown Executive Development Center within the Ying Academic Center - Auditorium
36 West Pine Street, Orlando, FL 32801
Social Hour and Networking
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Light Appetizers and Cash Bar
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
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