Apalachicola Paddling Trail Receives National Recognition

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Whiskey George Creek flows through marsh bordered by towering pines north of Carrabelle.  In summer, visitors may see swallow-tailed kites soaring overhead; in winter, they can see bald eagles. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announces that the Apalachicola Paddling Trail System, located in Franklin County in the Apalachicola River Wildlife and Environmental Area, is one of 24 trails designated by the Secretary of the Interior as a National Recreation Trail.

This network of paddling trails was developed by the FWC’s Office of Recreation Services. It features approximately 100 miles of scenic waterways accessible to boaters, canoeists and kayakers with all levels of experience.   The shortest trails are 2 miles long, while others are 4 to 16 miles and offer pleasant half- or full-day paddling trips.  Paddlers, anglers and birders can explore the quiet, calm creeks meandering through cypress-tupelo swamps or enjoy vistas of the open bay and salt marsh. 

Those who wish a more extended backcountry experience can combine trails to create two- or three-day trips.  Suggested primitive campsites are shown on the waterproof trail map available from the FWC.  No fees or permits are required.

Paddling along Graham Creek, a pristine, blackwater creek, paddlers pass through tunnels of majestic cypress and tupelo, source of the region’s famed tupelo honey. This paddling trail system was also named one of the 12 most recommended water trails in the United States for 2006 by The American Canoe Association and Paddler magazine.

Liz Sparks, an FWC recreational planner who helped create the trail, said the agency is honored the trail is recognized nationally as a great destination for a variety of users who come to enjoy the area’s outstanding scenery and wildlife-viewing opportunities.   

“We encourage people to use the trails throughout the year, but the fall and spring offer more comfortable temperatures and fewer bugs,” Sparks said.  “These are also great months to fish or watch wildlife and view flowering plants along the trails.”

To receive a free copy of the Apalachicola Paddling Trail System map, call 850-488-5520 or go to MyFWC.com and click on “Outdoor Recreation” to download copies of individual trip options.