PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF DEBARY PROUDLY SHOWING THE NEW SIGN — DeBary Mayor Karen Chasez, left, and Marti Miller, a member of the Florida Greenways and Trails Council, hold a sign with the Trail Town designation, as Ralph Lair, the chair of the Trails Council, stands behind it. Also pictured are DeBary City Manager Carmen Rosamonda, behind Chasez, DeBary Economic Development Director Shari Simmans, second from right, and other members of the Trails Council.

The City of DeBary has earned a designation that could help businesses of all types in the city known for its history, ecotourism and small-town charm.

Earlier this month in St. Petersburg, DeBary was designated Florida’s 12th Trail Town at a meeting of the Greenways and Trails Council in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Greenways and Trails, according to a city news release. The council designates cities as trail towns for being lively destinations where people come together and enjoy revitalizing activities such as hiking, biking, jogging, paddling and exploring.

Three major Florida trails — the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop, the Coast-to-Coast Trail, and the Heart of Florida Loop, with a combined 600-plus miles of accessible, paved trails — converge in DeBary. The council recognized DeBary not only for the city’s strategic location, but also for the support of the city and the city’s business community on behalf of the trails and trail users, according to the release.

“In DeBary, we act with a trail-first mindset, from our development projects to our recreation activities,” stated DeBary Mayor Karen Chasez in the news release. “The Trail Town designation will help us spotlight DeBary’s ecotourism activities and bring trail enthusiasts to our region, supporting our local businesses. We are working closely with our trail partners to further enhance the experience for trail users.”

IMAGE COURTESY FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

One of those partners is the St. Johns River-to-Sea Alliance and its founder and president, Maggie Ardito.

Ardito said the state and county trails that intersect through DeBary attract cyclists from all over the world, so the distinction comes as no surprise.

“It’s the only town in Florida where the two top-priority state SUNTrails — the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop and Coast-to-Coast Trail — intersect,” Ardito said. “So it’s no surprise that DeBary was awarded the designation of Florida Trail Town by the Office of Greenways and Trails.”

While on the trails in DeBary, bikers, walkers and joggers have access to a variety of parks and activities, including Gemini Springs Park, kayak launches, the DeBary Hall Historic Site, a top-tier disc-golf course, campgrounds, the DeBary SunRail Station, and bicycle-friendly local businesses.

“Trail Towns receive free Trail Town signs, stickers and, of course, lots of publicity,” said Georgia Turner, executive director of the West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority. “DeBary joins Deltona as West Volusia’s second Trail Town.”

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