Celebrate Florida’s “Rivers of AWE” National Recognition as Paddling Trails

    Join the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) this weekend in celebrating the designation of the “Rivers of AWE” – the Aucilla, Wacissa and Econfina rivers – as National Recreation Trails.

    This special event takes place on National Trail Day, Saturday, June 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Wacissa Springs County Park in Jefferson County. The event will be cancelled if it rains.

    “We’ll be celebrating getting a trio of beautiful regional rivers designated as National Recreation Trails,” said Jerrie Lindsey, director of the FWC’s Office of Public Access and Wildlife Viewing Services.

    “This is our agency’s third addition to the National Recreation Trail System awarded by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior,” said Liz Sparks, recreation planner for the FWC’s Public Access and Wildlife Viewing Services office. The Apalachicola Paddling Trail System in Franklin County gained recognition in 2008 for its 100 miles of scenic waterways, and the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail was selected as a National Recreation Trail in 2005. It features a 105-mile coastal trail for experienced paddlers seeking a true wilderness experience.

    But Saturday, June 2, the spotlight will be on the Wacissa. You can meander down the popular river from its clear headwater springs in your own kayak, canoe or powerboat. Outfitters will be on hand with kayaks and canoes to rent. Enjoy some local barbecue, home-grown music and hands-on activities. Learn about the area’s fascinating archaeology and abundant wildlife, including the Florida black bear, and discover great recreation opportunities in the area.

    “A popular destination on the Wacissa for beginners and families is Blue Springs. It is only a mile downriver and an easy paddle back,” Sparks said. “Lots of people jump in for a cooling swim in the spring-fed water that stays at a cool 68 degrees even in the hot summer.”

    Learn more about the Rivers of AWE by picking up “Aucilla, Wacissa, Econfina: An Explorer’s Guide to North Florida’s Region of Rivers.” You can also order a copy by visiting and clicking on “Publications.”

    To join the FWC’s celebration, from Tallahassee go east on U.S. 27 to S.R. 59. Turn south (right) and continue through the town of Wacissa. When 59 turns west (a right turn), continue straight on Wacissa Spring Road for a half-mile, where the road dead-ends at the county park.

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