Great Calusa Blueway Royal Spring along the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail Wekiva/St. Johns River Ramble Suwannee River Paddling Festival Manatees in Blue Spring run  off the St. Johns River Florida Keys Challenge Suwannee River Wilderness Trail Ocklawaha Odyssey Ocklawaha Odyssey Wild, Wonderful Withlacoochee The Great Calusa Blueway Suwannee River State Park Reflection of limestone banks along the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail A limpkin along the Wekiva River

Paddle Florida: Inspiring. Meaningful. Adventure. Paddle Florida, ,

, Paddle Florida: Inspiring. Meaningful. Adventure.

, Paddle Florida: Inspiring. Meaningful. Adventure.

Paddle Florida:
Inspiring. Meaningful. Adventure.

Paddle Florida, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation organized to support canoeing and kayaking in Florida. Supported, multi-day paddling/camping adventures in each of Florida's five water management districts showcase the state's natural beauty and rich cultural heritage while promoting water conservation, wildlife preservation, springs restoration, and waterways protection. Paddle Florida also seeks to promote Florida as an international destination for nature-based tourism.

Our 2017-18 season of paddling adventures:

Paddle Florida scouts trips in advance to ensure waterway conditions and shoreline campsites are safe, comfortable, and showcase nature's best view. Meal plans and gear shuttling eliminate the need to weigh down boats with food and camping equipment. Florida-based entertainment and educational programming is provided each evening by regional artists, musicians, authors, and naturalists. Partnerships with local outfitters provide paddlers with canoes, kayaks, and other paddling gear to rent as needed. With this level of support, paddlers of all ages and skill levels can explore and enjoy the REAL Florida!

Take a peek at a couple of our most popular paddling adventures on North Florida's famous Suwannee River and in the Florida Keys....

Paddle Florida is proud to be Silver Level certified by the Florida Society for
Ethical Ecotourism.  Florida SEE encourages awareness and stewardship of Florida's natural and cultural heritage by endorsing compliance with federal, state, and local laws, providing environmental education, and promoting professionalism and integrity. 

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Archived Happy Paddler newsletters:

May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016

Paddle Florida, Inc.
P.O. Box 5953
1710 SW 35th Place, Unit C
Gainesville, FL 32608

Board of Directors:
Nickie Kortus, President
Mary Jane Angelo, Vice President
Robert Hutchinson, Secretary
Debra Akin, Treasurer
Lars Andersen, Board Member

Tax Return & 990 Documents:
990 2015 Tax Return

Refund Policy:
Due to the financial outlay and costs incurred by Paddle Florida during event planning, any force majeure, which includes but is not limited to water levels, inclement weather and any other Acts of God not mentioned herein, shall not result in the refund of any fees paid to Paddle Florida. Absolutely no fees will be refunded after 15 days before the event begins. Any fees refunded by Paddle Florida will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Penny Greenler ~ May 2017

(04/24/2017) Where are you from? Your profession?  I currently live in West Chester, Ohio. I was born in England and we came over to Newfoundland, Canada when I was five. From there, we moved to Montreal when I was 9 until I graduated from McGill University in Montreal.  I have been a teacher my whole life!  I used to play school with my younger sister and then I tutored a first-grader in reading my senior year in high school. I graduated with a degree in physical education, taught PE for three years, and then switched to Montessori classroom teaching.  After 30 years, I retired on June 1st of last year.   When and how did you become interested in paddling?   I first tried kayaking at local Sierra Club weekend classes and fell in love with it.  I had been looking for a sport that wouldn’t be hard on my knees, which were a mess from distance running.  The class ended with a trip up a creek that was isolated and beautiful and only accessible by kayak.  I knew I had found my sport!   Where is your favorite place to paddle?  I’ve paddled to glaciers in Alaska, with Orcas in British Columbia, and this year I experienced the Florida springs on Paddle Florida trips, but I think my favorite place is Tybee Island off Georgia’s coast.  I love being in the warm salt water exploring the marshes and trying to surf in the waves (not always successfully!).   What’s the most interesting thing that ever happened to you on a paddling trip?  I think seeing wildlife makes a trip exciting. In Florida, I got to paddle with manatees who came up to the boat and rolled over for a belly scratch.  I paddled close to a pod of orcas in British Columbia and had to face a black bear in Alaska!  Oh and the gigantic alligators on the Ocklawaha!  (Kidding—they were just young’uns. J)   How many Paddle Florida trips have you gone on and to where?  My first trip was on the inaugural Ochlawaha Odyssey last December, and then I just participated in the Suwannee River Paddling Festival a few weekends ago.   Can you describe a Paddle Florida trip highlight?   The food is great, the riverfront views from my tent are awesome, and the musical entertainment is fun—especially Bing Futch, my favorite.  I would also like to thank the volunteers who help us unload and launch our kayaks.  I have travelled solo and it’s been great having help getting a sea kayak into the water (especially on the sand dune launch on the Suwannee!).                                     What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip?   First, take paddling lessons before the trip so you are comfortable and experienced for varying conditions.  Know how to set up your tent and don’t expect an air mattress to make it through the night!  If you can, bring your own kayaking gear.  And expect to have a great time!

Amy Riley ~ April 2017

(03/28/2017) Where are you from? Your profession?  I live in Fern Park, Florida and have been a Florida resident for the past 23 years. I am originally from Puerto Rico. I’m a mental health counselor, with a specialty in infant mental health. I work as an independent contractor for Kinder Konsulting, an agency that focuses on young children.   When and how did you become interested in paddling?   I started paddling shortly after I arrived to Florida, but only day trips for the first few years. Then I began working at a substance abuse residential program for teenagers, which included experiential therapy as part of its curriculum. I took the kids to do different outdoor activities and events and helped them process their experiences. One of the trips involved a five-day kayak journey on the (northern) Withlacoochee River down to Suwannee River State Park.  After that trip, I was hooked on kayaking.   Where is your favorite place to paddle?  It is hard to identify my favorite place to paddle. I have paddled in numerous states and Puerto Rico. All the paddles have their charms. I enjoy the wild ways of the Econlockhatchee River, and the clear waters of Juniper Springs are a marvel.  My best paddles have definitely been here in Florida.   What’s the most interesting thing that ever happened to you on a paddling trip?  I had a very interesting event occur while on the (southern) Withlacoochee River. I took a hike after paddling, became lost in the woods, and ran into a hunter who proceeded to hunt and kill a bobcat while leading me back to camp. On another paddling trip I fell off a bicycle I had rented, broke my wrist, and had to be taken off Cayo Costa by boat to a hospital. Each of those occurrences could have been traumatic, but my fellow paddlers were always there to support me. They have been a blessing!   How did you hear about Paddle Florida and which trips have you gone on?  I heard about Paddle Florida through the Internet. My husband and I were looking for a long kayak trip and just happened to stumble upon the website.  I have been on the Wekiva/St. Johns, two separate Suwannee trips, the Withlacoochee, the Bartram history paddle on the St. Johns, the Keys, the Calusa Blueway twice, and the recent Ochlockonee River trip.   Can you describe a Paddle Florida trip highlight?   On my second Suwannee trip, there was one particular day when I was not feeling particularly well physically or emotionally. I had not slept well and had a bad stomach ache. That morning I paddled off a little ahead of the lead. The water level was unusually low and it was very foggy. Everything was quiet, tranquil. In front of me I could just barely make out the forms of deer right in the middle of the river. It brought such peace to my heart. I will never forget that morning. Paddling can bring such spiritual and healing strength. Experiences like that help me put into perspective what is really important in life. After that trip I came home with a determination to keep that peace of mind consistent in my life.    What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip?   For people giving Paddle Florida a try, I say make the most of it. The trips have been amazing and the staff more than helpful. The people who come are seeking the same kind of experiences you are, and the trips provide an opportunity to connect to others of like mind. I refer to them as my "paddle family."  Who knows, maybe you’ll have your own spiritual awakening.

Jim & Connie Winter-Troutwine ~ March 2017

(02/24/2017) Where are you from? Your profession(s)?  We met in the flat lands of north central Indiana in 1975. We paddled many of the rivers and inland lakes only to realize Indiana was too flat, hot, and uninspiring. So we headed to Michigan, first and foremost to be nearer to Lake Michigan (locally known as the “big lake”), more wilderness, and the forests. We arrived in Grand Rapids during the blizzard of ’79 and were elated to find real Michigan snow instead of Indiana’s slush. In 1979 Jim established his architectural practice and Connie was hired as a speech-language pathologist in the local public schools. Connie retired in 2015 and Jim maintains a small studio in our home. We continue to reside in Grand Rapids on the same city block as our two granddaughters. When and how did you become interested in paddling?  Connie grew up in a canoe in Ontario and Manitoba where she spent her summers paddling the waters of Lake of the Woods, Manitou Island, and the inland waterway of Georgian Bay. Shortly after they married, she helped Jim unlearn his fear of the water and learn how to paddle a canoe. Several canoe trips in the Algonquin Provincial Park sealed their fate as life long paddlers. Where is your favorite place to paddle?  Our favorite place to paddle is the Georgian Bay in Ontario. We have paddled the 30 Thousand Islands chain several times and lead a group of friends out to the Bustard Islands in 2016.  We have had access to an island cottage in the Georgian Bay watershed for over 30 years where we have shared our passion for the Great Lakes with our two children, granddaughters, and many friends. What is the most interesting thing that ever happened to you on a paddling trip?  While our kids were still young, we set off on a week-long unsupported canoe trip on the Moon River in southern Ontario. As long time dog owners, we brought along our golden retriever and aging cocker spaniel. This was the first trip in which we were attempting to teach our children the joys of river camping. Along the way, our 12+-year-old cocker, Sarah, decided to unexpectedly up and die. This was extremely sad and rather perplexing, because…what do you do with the body of a 20-pound dog when you are camping on an island three days out?  Put it in a bag and carry it out or bury it on site in very little soil?  Does the “carry-out” rule apply to pet bodies?  Anyway, after saying our good-byes to Sarah, we were determined to bury her in the meager two-inch Muskoka topsoil, with a rock cairn on top.  But we were concerned that forest animals might disturb the grave site during the night. So, what do you do?  Yes, we all took our prospective turns peeing on and around the grave, repeatedly crying and laughing during the ordeal. The next morning, the cairn and grave were intact. Yes, this is a one-of-a- kind memory, certainly an event that our children have never forgotten! Which Paddle Florida trips have you gone on?  We have paddled on the Great Calusa Blueway and the Florida Keys Challenge.  Both great adventures! Can you describe a Paddle Florida Trip Highlight?  Paddling the open waters from island to island, observing and photographing the wild creatures above and below the water’s surface. The food is good but the entertainment was exceptional…especially musician Bing Futch! What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip?  Just do it!  For the adventure, education, and paddle enjoyment, you cannot buy a better, fully supported paddle experience in Florida. Great people, including organizers, guides, and fellow paddlers. Our plan is to do more paddling with Paddle Florida!

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