Many consider Northwest Florida as the “Canoe Capitol” of the state. We have numerous rivers, creeks, and springs that are great paddling spots. The scenery is great, wildlife is common, and most are easily accessed.
To introduce residents and visitors to the natural history of these waterways, UF/IFAS Extension Agents, and other experts, will lead a paddle trip down one of the many paddling creeks in our area – the Econfina Creek. This creek is one of the more unique ones. The term Econfina is a Muskogean (Creek) term meaning “land bridge” – which apparently existed near the present sight of Highway 20. However, the land bridge is no longer there. This creek runs 22 miles but the upper section is very difficult to paddle. Shallow, fast moving water winds its way through limestone gorges as the land drops at a rate of 7.9 feet / mile (one of the steepest in the state). The lower 6 miles (where our trip takes place) slows, meandering past several springs – including the first magnitude Ganier Springs – limestone outcrops, and lush vegetation – some plant species originate from the Appalachians. There is the chance of seeing some local wildlife including river otters. This lower section is slower and more relaxing and the scenery was graded an “A” by several canoeing guides.
The participants in the program will not only learn about the local natural history of this panhandle waterway but about some of the issues these unique habitats are currently facing. Field experts with the Northwest Florida Water Management District, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, and others will share insight to how we can protect these treasured ecosystems. To learn more about the trip contact Dr. Laura Tiu (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to register visit http://ufifasecofina.eventbrite.com/ .
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