August 2020 ~ Volume 135 
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Common Pursuits, Common Dreams
Over the past 13 years, we have been able to promote our non-profit mission and stage 63 events in Florida's most scenic and special places, with paddlers from 44 states and 4 countries. But our proudest achievement is being able to introduce over 2,500 people to the wonder of Florida's natural world. While we have introduced all these people to how beautiful these places are, we have also introduced these folks to EACH OTHER. It takes a certain kind of person to immerse themselves in nature; to become part of the wilderness, part of the universe, and share that experience with like-minded human beings. There are countless paddlers who have met lifelong friends by joining us on the water. Collectively, we hope to have impressed on them that our water is worth conserving, our wildlife is worth preserving, our springs are worth restoring and our waterways are worth protecting. 

We also wanted to remind our readers of our increased presence on social media, as we are now posting every day on both Facebook and Instagram. Please 'like' and follow us for great photos and stories. Also, we want to encourage everyone to visit Paddle Florida's YouTube channel where you will find 17 videos that illustrate trips we have done over the years and across the Sunshine State. You will also find Grant Peeples show from May, Rod MacDonald's show from June and Katherine Archer's show from July. The August edition of our Summer Music Series will feature another of our favorite artists, Bing Futch.
Paddle Florida Summer Music Series
Bing Futch

Date: August 21, 2020
Time: 7 PM

Click here to read Bing's bio.
To access by computer:
If you can't make the show, please consider making a donation to our non-profit organization. There are links in this issue that describe the really cool thank you gifts you will receive for your donation. At the $25 level, you get a PF buff, which can be particularly useful during this time of COVID-19. At the $50 level, you get a PF dry bag, which every paddler/camper can use. At the $75 level, you get a super cool, long-sleeved, white dri-fit PF shirt, which will be great sun protection for the summer. At the $100 level, you will receive a limited edition, water color print by one of our very talented paddlers, Peggy Perry. 
January Trip Announced: The Great Calusa Blueway
January 15-21, 2021
Exploring the Great Calusa Blueway in southwest Florida with Paddle Florida. Film by Matt Keene.
Register here
Many Benefits of Natural Areas
By Donald Forgione
Executive Director, Tailgate-Talks and co-author of The Ecotourism Provider’s HANDBOOK: 180 Techniques for an Exceptional Park, Preserve, or Nature-based Attraction (available soon).

Many of us think of the great outdoors as a place to be alone with family and friends. We imagine ourselves taking the proverbial “long walk on the beach” alone or maybe hand in hand with a loved one and nothing but shells and shore birds around us. For that scene to take place requires open spaces like public and private parks, preserves, green ways, blue ways, and forests. While there are many benefits to these areas, the current pandemic has brought two of them to the forefront, health, and economics.

The psychological and physical health benefits associated with recreating outdoors are widely known but difficult to quantify. Various programs have emerged in which physicians prescribe a visit to an outdoor setting as a remedy for certain ailments (e.g. obesity, high blood pressure). Park Rx AmericaTM is an example of one such program. Such outdoor prescriptions expose new visitors to natural areas who might not have otherwise visited. [Read more...]

DeSantis approves aquatic preserve off Pasco, Citrus and Hernando counties
By Rebecca Torrence, Tampa Bay Times
Photo Credit: Charlie Shoemaker, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Gov. Ron DeSantis has approved the creation the Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve to protect seagrass off the coast of Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties.

The preserve, which spans 800 square miles of coastal waters, is the first new aquatic preserve created in Florida in 32 years.

As the 42nd aquatic preserve in the state, the Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve will protect 400,000 acres of seagrass in the Gulf of Mexico’s largest seagrass bed.

Seagrass beds serve as a measure of water quality and provide habitat for marine life. A single acre of seagrass can support nearly 40,000 fish and 50 million small invertebrates, including lobster and shrimp. [Read more...]

Mysterious 'blue hole' near Florida wows scientists
By Doyle Rice, USA Today
Photo Credit: AJ Gonzalez, Mote Marine Laboratory

There's a weird "blue hole" in the ocean floor off the coast of Florida that's wowing scientists.

It's about 425 feet deep and is located some 155 feet below the water's surface, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The site, dubbed the "Green Banana,” has been a hot topic both for scientists and deep-sea explorers, ABC News said. In August, scientists from NOAA and other organizations plan to embark on a mission to explore the hole, which is located some 50 miles southwest of Sarasota. 

The configuration of the hole is somewhat hourglass shaped, which creates challenges for researchers, according to NOAA. [Read more...]

House passes bipartisan public lands bill; next stop president's desk
By Allison Stevens and Jacob Fischler, Florida 
Photo Credit: Everglades National Park, National Park Service.

Major environmental legislation sailed through Congress Wednesday while the nation’s political leaders were stuck in intense negotiations over the contours of a fifth coronavirus relief package.

The bill would provide $9.5 billion over five years to pay down the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog and provide permanent funding at $900 million per year for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports natural areas and recreation activities.

It was sponsored by the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, a civil rights giant who passed away last week. [Read more...]

Flora & Fauna Spotlight

A Closer Look at Who's Protecting South Florida's Beaches, Reefs and Wildlife
By Steve MacLaughlin, NBC 6
Photo Credit: Jennifer Stein, FWC

The beaches of Miami-Dade and Broward counties are a cherished resource, where the biodiversity of the ocean meets the cultural diversity of South Florida. Making sure the beach is healthy for future generations actually begins in the ocean itself, with corals.

In 2014, the town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea began working with NOVA Southeastern University to help restore and conserve the corals just off-shore. David Gilliam, an associate professor at NOVA, said that "Corals are the living organism that creates our reefs. Reefs are created by the growth of corals, one on top of each other, for hundreds and hundreds of years, and if you lose the corals that live on top, that reef growth will eventually stop." [Read more...]

It's Safer Outdoors
Inspiring. Meaningful. Adventure.
Place-based Learning in the Great Outdoors
Paddle Florida welcomes paddlers from all races, genders, and sexual orientations. We will continue to strive to promote diversity among the paddling community and work to create a safe space for all to enjoy our paddling adventures. 

2020-21 Paddle Florida Season

Suwannee River Wilderness Trail
October 16-21, 2020
Celebrate Florida's version of autumn on its most famous river. The trip spans 65 miles of the scenic Suwannee and a portion of the (northern) Withlacoochee, from Madison Blue Spring to Branford. This section features dozens of clear blue springs perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
Register by: October 2nd

Ten Thousand Islands Paddling Festival (NEW)
November 12-15, 2020
Southwest Florida's answer to our spring paddling festival features three days of exploring the magic kingdom of the Ten Thousand Islands. Our basecamp for this experience is Collier-Seminole State Park, one of the best state parks in the region. It is within driving distance of all the paddling tours we will undertake. This is a first time event in our November time slot. We hope to make the Ten Thousand Islands Paddling Festival an annual event in this paddlers' paradise.  
Register by: October 30th

Treasure Coast Paddling Adventure (NEW)
December 2-8, 2020
Come explore the Treasure Coast; named for the profusion of shipwrecks and treasure hunters who have been searching for gold, silver and other valuable and historic bounty. The trip starts in St. Lucie County at Ft. Pierce Inlet State Park and follows a route to the north through Indian River County, finishing in Sebastian. We'll spend two nights at state parks, two nights at Indian River County Parks and two nights at the Environmental Learning Center. This will be an excellent example of what we try to achieve on every trip: Place-based learning in the Great Outdoors.
Register by: November 18th

The Great Calusa Blueway
January 15-21, 2021
Bask in the history, culture and beauty of Southwest Florida as we explore 57 miles of Lee County's rivers, bays, creeks, mangrove tunnels, aquatic preserves, Calusa shell mounds and pristine white-sand barrier islands.
Register by: January 2nd

Wild, Wonderful Withlacoochee
February 9-14, 2021
Beginning at Lake Panasoffkee, paddlers will thread their way through hardwood swamps and tannic streams on a 60-mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. The adventure includes a side trip to the colorful Rainbow River and its world class first magnitude spring.
Register by: January 26th

Springtime on the Chipola (NEW)
March 17-23, 2021
This will be our 4th different trip in Florida's panhandle, joining the Ochlockonee, the Choctawhatchee ,and the Perdido. Given the right conditions, this river will be suitable for all paddlers and paddlecraft.  Florida Caverns State Park is the starting point for staging this event next March, when spring will be blooming in the panhandle. This is going to be a great experience!
Register by: February 28th

Suwannee River Paddling Festival
April 2-4, 2021 
With camping atop the bluff overlooking two beautiful rivers, our season-capping festival takes place at Suwannee River State Park near Live Oak. The weekend will offer supported 8-12 mile paddling options on both the Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers, a concert featuring Paddle Florida's favorite musicians, and educational presentations from regional waterway experts.
Register by: March 19th

Note: Many of Paddle Florida trips have historically sold out before the registration deadline, so to ensure you have a spot, please register early.

How To:  
7 Tips for a Successful Canoe Trip with Children
Some tips and tricks to making a canoe trip go smoothly with children.
[Read more…]
Like us on Facebook
29,870+ followers and counting!
Reconnect with paddling friends and make new ones on Paddle Florida's Facebook page.  Our daily feeds provide updates on the news impacting Florida's waterways and wildlife as well as our upcoming trips.  Send us your favorite photo depicting paddling in Florida and it might be selected as our 'Picture of the Day!'

Support Paddle Florida

During this challenging time, we are all changing our daily lives in order to minimize and shorten the impact of this awful virus. To continue our programs of place-based learning in the great outdoors, we are counting on the Paddle Florida Community to help us through this difficult time.

Please consider making a donation* to show your support of our mission of connecting people to nature and each other.

In appreciation of your donation, you will receive a special gift: 

Make a $25 donation HERE and receive a  Paddle Florida buff that can be worn as a face mask, hat, scarf, or to protect face from the sun.

Make a $50 donation HERE and receive a Paddle Florida dry bag.


Make a $75 donation HERE and receive a a long-sleeved, dri-fit  Paddle Florida shirt.

Make a $100 donation HERE and receive an 11x14 watercolor 
paper giclée print "A Bevy of Paddlers"  painted by one of our own paddlers, Peggy Perry

Click on the photo to enlarge.

We are all in this together. 

To donate online using your debit or credit card, please click the links above.

To donate by check, please send an email with your name and address to
*The CARES Act allows taxpayers to deduct up to $300 in charitable donations made in 2020 without itemizing. 
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