Gainesville Ecotours offers local adventures


Published: Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 10:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 10:33 p.m.

Terri Mashour only lasted a week as a stay-at-home mom before she realized how much she missed being active outdoors.

“It was very difficult, and I really missed getting back outdoors and being in nature,” she said.

So she went back to work — immediately — and started Gainesville Ecotours, an environmental hiking tour business dedicated to showing locals the beauty that surrounds them.

Gainesville Ecotours has been in operation since October. This year Mashour’s business will be working with the Alachua Conservation Trust to bring 12 hikes to the public.

For example, Ecotours offered a hike on Saturday at Barr Hammock/Levy Prairie’s grand opening near Micanopy. They plan a Valentine’s Urban Ecotour and Lunch at Fat Tuscan Cafe on Feb. 16 that features a hiking tour of Gainesville’s historic northeast area. On March 30, Ecotours plans a hike and nature photography workshop along the La Chua Trail at Paynes Prairie.

With New Year’s resolutions still fresh in people’s minds, Mashour said she hopes people will be encouraged to come get active.

Hikes are open to people of all ages, and it’s a distracting form of exercise.

“You don’t even realize how long you’re hiking, whereas you know how long you’re in the gym,” she said. “We have fun. We talk to each other and burn a lot of calories.”

Through the process, she wants people to realize how much nature is available in Gainesville.

“If I can get people out there, I can teach people about so that they’ll love it and get back outdoors and away from their iPods and TVs,” she said.

Mashour’s hikes range in cost between $10 and $25, but are free to children under 12.

Visit GainesvilleEcotours.com for more information on getting involved in hikes, or contact Mashour at 904-704-4087

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