On March 16, the Tourism Bureau for Florida’s Adventure Coast held a ribbon cutting for the Bayport-Linda Pedersen Paddling Trail. Local dignitaries, along with tourism officials and the media attended the event.
This marked paddling trail between Bayport and Linda Pedersen parks was a joint project of the Hernando County Waterways, Extension, Tourism Development and Parks and Recreation departments. At a cost of $10,000, the trail represents a cost-effective contribution to tourism and the environment as well as a place for locals to enjoy the wildlife habitat. Paddlers can access the trail at no cost from official launch sites at both parks. The paddling trail is ideal for kayaks, stand up paddleboards and canoes.
“This new paddling trail provides an alternative to the Weeki Wachee River, which becomes overcrowded much of the year,” County Administrator Leonard Sossamon explained. “It’s well marked so beginners will feel confident they won’t get lost, but still challenging enough for the more experienced paddlers.”
The Bayport-Linda Pedersen Paddling Trail traverses a special coastal ecosystem called an estuary. It is a dynamic tidal area where water is alternately fresh and salty, dry and submerged. Estuaries are breeding and nesting areas for many coastal birds, including wood storks, herons, egrets and other waders. You may also see ospreys, pelicans and hawks. Manatee, otter and dolphins make their home here, as well.
To complement the new paddling trail, four members of Cadette Girl Scout Troop 317 created two hand-painted educational signs that feature trail sights along the way. Shyanne Beadling, Emily Bladgett, Serenity Meads and Brooke Starz dedicated 200+ hours on planning, designing, and completing the signs. This was a product of the girls’ Silver Award project – an award that challenges middle-school level Girl Scouts to make a difference in their community while developing leadership skills. The girls were recognized for their hard work during the March 14, 2017 Board of County Commission meeting.
A visitor can make a round trip of 4.5 miles and experience the entire trail, including the RedFish Bayou Loop. This segment of the trail is shallower and suitable for the more adventurous and experienced paddlers. Bald eagles are often spotted here.
Those who want a shorter excursion can stay on the Jenkins Creek Trail (a distance of 3.4 miles round trip). You can see manatees and other interesting wildlife.
A serene visit to the Bayport-Linda Pedersen Paddling Trail is a perfect place to have an adventure while enjoying nature’s beauty.
To find out more about the Bayport-Linda Pedersen Paddling Trail and other information on Hernando County recreation log onto www.FloridasAdventureCoast.com
You can also “Like” their Facebook Page under 'Florida's Adventure Coast.'