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Terry Tomalin, Times Outdoors/Fitness Editor

Terry Tomalin

Terry Tomalin moved to Florida in the spring of 1980 for the sun and surf. After graduating from the University of South Florida in 1983, Tomalin backpacked through Europe, returning a few months later to work for a small Central Florida newspaper, where his stories on the Ku Klux Klan resulted in the resignation of a local sheriff.

Tomalin joined the Times as a police reporter in 1986, but left 18 months later to backpack through New Zealand and Australia. He returned a year later and transferred to the sports department to cover the great outdoors.

During the past 20 years, Tomalin has lived with witch doctors in the Amazon, explored sunken Mayan archaeological sites in Mexico, sailed to Cuba, canoed to the Bahamas and swam around Key West. Tomalin loves to fish, surf, paddle and enjoy all Florida has to offer.

A fellow of the prestigious Explorer's Club in New York City, Tomalin holds a master's degree in Florida studies and is involved in many community organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America.

Phone: (727) 893-8808

Email: ttomalin@tampabay.com

Twitter: @WaterTribe

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  1. NOOD Regatta brings sailing spotlight to St. Petersburg

    Outdoors

    St. Petersburg's Grant Dumas races year round but he looks forward to February when the first stop of the National Offshore One-Design series brings in fellow sailors from around the world.

    "It is cold up north and everybody always looks forward to coming to Florida," said Dumas, the 45-year-old skipper of the race boat Warrior who won last year's event. "It is a great way to show off our local sailing scene."...

    Grant Dumas, skipper of the Warrior crew, won last year's NOOD Regatta in St. Petersburg
  2. Take it Outside Planner: Racing at Bradenton Area River Regatta, hiking Big Cypress

    Outdoors

    River rockets: Bradenton Area River Regatta

    The fastest inland boats on water, the Powerboat Superleague racing boats, will light up the Manatee River alongside the quickest personal watercraft in the world, HydroCross, at the Second Annual Bradenton Area River Regatta on Saturday. The action literally runs from dawn to dusk. You'll find the best viewing Bradenton Riverwalk, but this year's event will also feature activities on Palmetto's Riverside Drive, where you will find racing pits and the kids zone. A field of 12 professional "pilots" in the F-2 powerboat race will climb from 0 to 100 mph in less than four seconds and reach four G's or more on the course, negotiating turns at nearly full speed. Race fans can look forward to a series of qualifying runs and time trials before the division and championship racing from 2 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. The stand-up HydroCross racers will also be on the water competing for the Florida Winter Cup/Mayor's Cup title. In between races, the top riders will do stunts along a river course in front of Palmetto Pier....

    Powerboat Superleague racing boats will electrify the Manatee River, while the quickest, most nimble water scooters in the world, HydroCross, will thrill the crowds at the second annual Bradenton Area River Regatta on Feb. 6.
  3. Red-shouldered? Red-tailed? Read the clues to identify the hawk

    Outdoors

    On a recent trip down the Suwannee, a large bird of prey flew across the river about 25 feet in front of my canoe.

    My paddling partner, a relative newcomer to the Great Outdoors, asked what kind of bird it was.

    "A hawk," I replied.

    "What kind of hawk?" she asked.

    "A red-shouldered hawk," I replied, thinking I had a 50-50 chance of being right. Then I added, "Or maybe it was a red-tailed hawk."...

    Learn about birds of prey like Shadow, a 15-year-old female red-shouldered hawk, at Raptor Fest at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve.
  4. Take it Outside Planner: Visit Big Talbot Island, look for cranes and fish for sheepshead

    Outdoors

    MAKE THE TRIP: BIG TALBOT ISLAND

    If you have never been to a maritime forest, northeast Florida's Big Talbot Island is well worth it. This state park near Jacksonville is one of the last undeveloped "sea islands" in that area of the state. Bring your camera and binoculars and you'll get great photos and memories. Also bring your lightweight hikers. Take your pick of the Blackrock Trail, Big Pine Trail or Old Kings Highway, each one traversing a different habitat. You can put your boat in at the north end of the island to fish the edge of the salt marsh. Or rent a kayak and take a guided paddle tour. Afterward, visit the Bluffs for a picnic lunch, then head down to Boneyard Beach, famous for the salt-washed skeletons of live oak and cedar trees. For a more civilized adventure, bring your bike or baby stroller and cruise the paved, multi-use Timucuan Trail that runs parallel to A1A. Big Talbot Island State Park is on State Road A1A N, Jacksonville....

     The Yeti Hopper 30 ($349) photographed at Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure on Tuesday January 12, 2015 in Pinellas Park.
  5. 7 things hikers always should carry in their pack

    Outdoors

    As a Boy Scout leader, I try to make sure the young men in my charge are always prepared. Troop 219's war cry is "We hike. We hike. We hike." Sometimes it is just along the waterfront of downtown St. Petersburg. But occasionally we take off to the woods of Withlacoochee State Forest.

    Anything can happen out on the trail, so you need to be ready for everything. I have hiked in the mountains of New Zealand, the deserts of Australia and the jungles of Brazil, but my day pack always contains the same seven items, regardless of the terrain:...

    Before taking off on a hike, there are certain staples to have in your day pack, including a first aid kit, compass, map and multi-pliers.
  6. Take it Outside Planner: Everglades National Park, a seminar for saltwater fishers, the best camp chair

    Outdoors

    HIT THE GLADES: pARK centenNiAL

    Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service with a trip to Florida's best, Everglades National Park. January and February are great months for bird watching. Visitors can see large colonies of nesting birds from a respectful distance with binoculars and long-range camera lenses. This is the "dry season" in the park and wading birds gather at traditional and new nesting sites. If you time it right you might see hundreds, perhaps even thousands of birds as they prepare to build nests. Get out your notebook — roseate spoonbills are the first to show up, followed by storks, egrets, herons and ibis. If you are looking for a good place to see the rose-colored birds, check out Paurotis Pond, located approximately 24 miles from the main park entrance near Homestead. For more information, visit nps.gov/ever....

    The gray fox is often seen in North Florida.
  7. Five saltwater fishing tips from a pro

    Outdoors

    When George Poveromo brings his Salt Water Sportsman National Seminar Series to Riverview this weekend, he will be sharing some tricks of the trade. Host of George Poveromo's World of Saltwater Fishing on the NBC Sports Network, the international angler will share the stage with some of Florida's best captains. • But if you can't wait to hear what this fishing great has to say, here are five tips from him that will not only work in the Gulf of Mexico but anywhere you travel in search of big fish:...

    International angler George Poveromo brings the Salt Water Sportsman seminar series to Riverview on Saturday.
  8. Tampa Bay Frogman Swim benefits Navy SEAL Foundation

    Outdoors

    When most 8-year-old boys played Army in the woods, Patrick Feeks dreamed of being a Navy SEAL. He never wanted to be anything else.

    "He was very focused and determined from an early age," said his father, Thomas Feeks, a retired Navy officer. "He was passionate. … Nothing could stand in his way."

    The first time Patrick tried to enlist, the Navy told him he had failed his eye test. So he shopped until he could find a doctor to correct his vision....

    Patrick Feeks was a Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan in 2012. His widow praises the help she got from the Navy SEAL Foundation.
  9. Take it Outside Planner: Free entry to National Wildlife Refuges, scrub jay sightings and Smart Wool

    Outdoors

    GET IN FREE: WILDLIFE REFUGES

    National Wildlife Refuges are getting a lot of attention as of late but for all the wrong reasons. Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, its headquarters recently occupied by armed antigovernment protesters, is also a great place to see birds. So are Florida's St. Marks NWR (established in 1931, it's one of the oldest in the United States), J.N. "Ding" Darling NWR and Ten Thousand Islands NWR. If you have never explored one of these American treasures, now's your chance. Admission is free on Monday (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), Feb. 13-15 (Presidents Day Weekend), Sept. 24 (National Public Lands Day), Oct. 9 (first Sunday of National Wildlife Refuge Week) and Nov. 11-13 (Veterans Day weekend). The NWR System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the nation's premier habitat conservation network, encompassing more than 150 million acres in 563 refuges and 38 wetland management districts. Most refuges admit the public free year-round, but some of the more popular ones charge a small entrance fee to cover maintenance and visitor services. Visit fws.gov/refuges. ...

    ST. MARKS (FLA) NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE 10/24/09-ST.MARKS-102409 HACKLEY- The lighthouse at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.
  10. Want to shape up? Try a 30-minute workout three times a week

    Health

    Local gyms will be packed this month with New Year's resolutionaries kicking off fitness programs. But come February, the crowds will be gone.

    Why?

    Most will say they just don't have the time to work out.

    Some people will only stick with a fitness program if they have someone to hold them accountable. If you fall into that category, find a workout buddy or hire a personal trainer....

    Justin Rueff, personal trainer director at Anytime Fitness in South Pasadena, demonstrates the leg press.
  11. Take it Outside Planner: Solitude in the Green Swamp, plus amberjack and saltwater fly fishing

    Outdoors

    SWEET SOLITUDE: THE GREEN SWAMP

    They call it a "swamp," but much of the land is high and dry, a mixture of hardwood hammock, pine flatwoods and sandhill scrub. Covering some 870 square miles in Pasco, Hernando, Polk, Lake and Sumter counties, the Green Swamp serves as the headwaters to four major rivers: the Hillsborough, the Withlacoochee, the Ocklawaha and the Peace. With its highest point 130 feet above sea level, this region is a major recharge area for the Floridan Aquifer, the state's water supply....

    Dave Mistretta shows off a large amberjack he caught trolling the wreck of an old shrimp boat.
  12. Jolly moves to eliminate guesswork from fishing regulations

    Outdoors

    As a member of the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations, Congressman David Jolly knows the importance of good data.

    "It's all about the numbers," said Jolly, a Dunedin native who takes a particular interest in fisheries issues. "Without good data, you can't make good decisions."

    Jolly, a Republican, represents Florida's 13th Congressional District which covers most of Pinellas County. First elected in March 2014, Jolly quickly recognized the importance of both commercial and recreational fishing to the region's economy....

    Steve Yerrid, left, and Frank Perri show off an American red snapper. A new third-party data collection system is approved for a year.
  13. Take It Outside Planner: Spot manatees and bobcats, indoor rock climbing at Vertical Ventures

    Outdoors

    MANA-SEE: HOMOSASSA HOLIDAY

    The 6-mile long Homosassa River begins in a spring at the state park and is home to one of the largest herds of West Indian manatee in Florida. Paddlers often see these gentle animals moving slowly upstream, especially in the winter months. The Halls River, which joins the Homosassa from the north, offers additional backwater paddling. As you near the gulf, freshwater mixes with salt, making for good fishing, so bring a rod and reel. After you are done on the river, spend the afternoon at the state wildlife park, one of Florida's original roadside attractions. You can see manatees every day of the year from the park's underwater observatory in the main spring. The park showcases native Florida wildlife, including black bears, bobcats, white-tailed deer, American alligators, American crocodiles and river otters. Don't miss the kid-friendly wildlife encounter programs. floridastateparks.org/park/homosassa-springs....

    Jamie Weller, 34, of Spring Hill, navigates a climb at Vertical Ventures, a climbing gym in St. Petersburg.
  14. USFSP class travels the Suwannee River for class on outdoors leadership

    Human Interest

    Paige McDaniel thought she knew the Suwannee.

    The 20-year-old from Naples had paddled the river in the spring when the water was high and fast. She had been a little nervous. She knew that one errant stroke could dump her and all her camping gear into the swift, dark water. But somehow, the senior from Naples had made it through.

    Now, six months later, she was back on its banks again, this time as a teaching assistant....

     University of South Florida St. Petersburg students from the Leadership in the Great Outdoors class, participate in games and tell stories around a campfire at the Holton Creek River Camp, 11/4/15 on the banks of the Suwannee River.
  15. Terry Tomalin's Top 11 Florida state parks to visit in 2016

    Outdoors

    Whenever I get the wanderlust, I put on Johnny Cash's version of the ultimate road trip song, I've Been Everywhere.

    Crossed the deserts bare, man … breathed the mountain air, man

    Travel, I've had my share, man, I've been everywhere …

    Being a traveling man, people often ask me about my favorite places to fish, paddle and camp. And while sometimes I do think that I've been everywhere in Florida, when I stop and break out a map, I realize how much of the Sunshine State I have left to see. So instead of writing about where I've been, how about a column about where I'll go in 2016?...

    Falling Waters State Park on the Florida Panhandle is one of Outdoor Editor Terry Tomalin's top 10 list for places to visit in 2016.