Adventures on the Water
Meeting with the Florida Paddling Trails Association

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Florida Paddling Trails Association members gather on bank of Chipola River at sunset.

Florida Paddling Trails Association

Established in 2007 with guidance from the Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Greenways & Trails, the Florida Paddling Trails Association operates as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Initially tasked with overseeing the 1,515-mile Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, their stewardship expanded in 2009 to encompass all of Florida's water trails.

Comprising paddlers, clubs, outfitters, and enthusiasts statewide, the Association shares a deep-seated enthusiasm for exploring Florida's picturesque waterways via canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards.

The mission of the Florida Paddling Trails Association is to enhance, maintain, and advocate for water trails, while championing environmental preservation along these routes. They serve as a valuable resource and advocate for paddlers, while also prioritizing safety and education initiatives. Additionally, they proudly serve as the designated nonprofit steward of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail (FL CT), in collaboration with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Greenways and Trails, alongside various local, regional, state, and federal partners.

Panama City FWCO Biologist Andy Hartzog with paddling members before presentation.

Education on the Chipola River

Every year, the Florida Paddling Trails Association embarks on an adventure across Florida's water management districts, engaging in paddle and camping excursions along its scenic rivers. This year, their journey led them to the Northwest Florida Water Management District area, where they explored the beauty of the Chipola River.

Panama City Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office Mussel Biologist, Andy Hartzog, recently participated in the annual Florida Paddling Trails Association meeting with his expertise. The picturesque setting of Bear Paw Adventures in Marianna, nestled along the serene banks of the Chipola River, provided the perfect backdrop for this gathering.

As the keynote speaker, Andy captivated the audience with a diverse range of aquatic topics, delving into freshwater fish and mussel conservation, alongside insights into ongoing watershed assessment tools and stream restoration techniques to recover federally listed species in Florida's aquatic systems.

Approximately 32 attendees enjoyed the after-dinner entertainment following Andy's presentation.

Story Tags

Rivers and streams