Rolling Down the Suwannee River
Second Annual Fall Paddle Florida
For those looking for a pampered, guided trip down the river, this is not the excursion to sign up for. However, for those looking to enjoy nature and the camaraderie of fellow paddlers working toward the same goal, then the Second Annual Fall Paddle Florida is the perfect opportunity. The event will be held at the recently completed Suwannee River Wilderness Trail October 15-22. The journey kicks off at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, and concludes 123-miles later at the Manatee Springs State Park, in Gilchrist County.
Paddle Florida is held in cooperation with the Florida Park Service and the Suwannee River Water Management District. These two organizations, through partnerships with both the public and private sectors, have created the 171-mile Suwannee River Wilderness Trail. The Trail consists of cabins and river camps that have made the Suwannee River area accessible to paddlers, hikers, bikers, equestrian enthusiasts and other user groups.
Participants should bring along a canoe or kayak, paddles, a personal floatation device, a whistle for each paddler, standard camping gear and a tent. The daily excursion and distance are generally created for the novice paddlers.
“Paddle Florida allows novice and experienced paddlers alike to explore parts of natural North Florida that few natives or tourists have ever experienced,” said Bill Richards, organizer of Paddle Florida. “A unique feature of Paddle Florida events is that participants camp each night on the river, truly immersing themselves in the natural experience. At each campsite, paddlers are treated to professionally catered meals, campfires, professional musical entertainment and other surprises,” added Richards.
Those participating should arrive at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park one day ahead for a night of camping and orientation. Subsequent overnight camping will be held at the Suwannee River State Park, Lafayette Blue Springs State Park, Suwannee River Rendezvous Resort & Campground, Ivey Memorial Park, Gornto Springs and Fanning Springs State Park. Entertainment is included in the Paddle Florida package for those registered. The registration fee includes a T-shirt, boat decal, camping, maps and river descriptions, and activities for the paddlers.