Beginning at Big Lagoon State Park near Pensacola, extending around the Florida peninsula and Keys, and ending at Fort Clinch State Park near the Georgia border, the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail is a 1,600-mile sea kayaking paradise. The trail includes every Florida coastal habitat type, from barrier island dune systems to salt marsh to mangroves. Several historical sites and points of interest are accessible by kayak along with colorful fishing communities and urban centers.
The Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail has been divided into 26 segments. Each segment is unique, ranging from the remote Big Bend Coast and Everglades/Florida Bay wilderness, to the more urbanized coastlines of Pinellas County and Fort Lauderdale.
The trail is a strategic long-term priority of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, being coordinated by the Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT), but it relies heavily on the involvement and cooperation of numerous other government agencies at the federal, state, regional and local levels, along with private outfitters, businesses, paddling clubs and individual volunteers. Already, in some segments, partnerships of city/county, state, federal, and non-profit land managers and local outfitters have been formed to help with trail planning and long-term management. The trail will incorporate several existing local and regional trails such as the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail, The Nature Coast Trail and the Gulf and Wilderness waterways in Everglades National Park. Also, the trail connects, incorporates and complements several blueways trails that have been or are being developed by Florida coastal counties.
Scouting for the circumnavigational trail began in 2004 and concluded in 2007; most of the trail is now open. A non-profit statewide support group, the Florida Paddling Trails Association, was launched in late 2007.
From the website, "Our rivers and waterways are history's natural highways. Before there were interstates or even dirt roads, our founders traveled them and moved produce and trade goods by canoe and pole boats."
The Berkeley County Blueways paddling trail system is comprised of 23 trails spanning 175 miles of lakes, rivers and streams through scrub forests, marshland, rice fields, cypress swamps, rich in wildlife from wading birds to white tailed dear, from ospreys to alligators.
As you paddle in your own backyard, consider how you might become involved with efforts to preserve, protect or establish marine trails.
Post Date: 1/22/2011, Article by: Ann Carpenter