Black Creek Paddling Festival


Black Creek Paddling Festival

December 10-12, 2021

DaylaunchDestinationDaily Miles
1N/ACamp Chowenwaw Park0
2Black CreekCamp Chowenwaw Park12
3Peter’s CreekCamp Chowenwaw Park8
Total Miles20

Evening Programs: One of Paddle Florida's favorite entertainers will perform a benefit concert Saturday. Proceeds will support continuing our programs at Paddle Florida. The weekend will also feature hiking through nearby trails, and an opportunity to hear from local experts dedicated to preserving North Florida's rivers, springs, and water-sheds.

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. Before each trip registration deadline, requests for fee refunds will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

***You will receive a confirmation email message 7 - 10 days before the event with all the latest details on the trip***

Shuttle Details: Due to COVID-19, there will be NO shuttles. We will launch and return to Camp Chowenwaw Park each day.

Funded in part by Clay County For visitor information, go to

Boat & Gear Recommendations

For this trip, we recommend either sit in or sit on top kayaks of at least 12 feet in length. This trip is for beginner paddlers, you should also be in moderately good physical condition and know how to swim. If you have any questions about the kind of environment you will encounter on this trip, please contact Bill Richards at

Paddle Florida Policies

  • All paddlers must attend the trip overview and orientation on the first evening. Paddlers must adhere to the safety guidelines presented.
  • All paddlers must wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD) and whistle at all times on the water.
  • Paddlers under age 18 are the responsibility of, and must be accompanied by, a parent or guardian. No more than two children under the age of 12 per adult guardian.
  • Sorry, no pets allowed.
  • All paddlers must provide an emergency contact information and sign a Waiver of Claims and Release of Liability form. Parents must sign for their children under the age of 18.
  • People-powered watercraft only.
  • Paddle Florida adheres to all rules put forth by the public parks we stay in, including the ban on alcoholic beverages.
  • All paddlers must respect private property along waterways.
  • All paddlers must have basic paddling and swimming skills
  • Violations of any of these policies can result in the paddler being removed from the event without refund.

We will paddle Black Creek on Saturday and Peter’s Creek on Sunday.

Day 1/Friday, January 29: Camp Chowenwaw Park, Paddling Miles: 0

Festival participants will check in at Camp Chowenwaw Park between 1-5PM. After checking in, they will set up their tents and relax after exploring the park. Please note that there is a designated camping area and that gear will be transported via push carts. Camp Chowenwaw is a County gen that remains largely unknown. The park is a 150-acre site containing undisturbed wetland and upland environments and is home to a plethora of wildlife. It is located at the mouth of Black Creek, just outside of Green Cove Springs, FL. This spot offers one of the most picturesque river sunset views anywhere in Florida, and it’s close to pavilions, picnic tables, restrooms, and 5-minute walk to hot showers in the campground.

Camp Chowenwaw, the Creek word for “sister”, was dedicated in 1933, and was originally a Girl Scout Camp.

Dinner will be served at 6PM, followed by an overview of the weekend and an educational presentation by regional waterway advocates. Afterwards, we’ll light the campfire and enjoy the moonlight and stars. By the way, there are cabins at Camp Chowenwaw Park that are available for rent during our event (at your own cost). There are 9 Tree House Cabins which will be available when we stage the event in November 2021. Girl Scouts ready to scout at Camp Chowenwa (Clay County Archives)

Day 2/Saturday, Jan 30: Camp Chowenwaw Park to Black Creek - Paddling Miles: 12

Breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m. From 8:30-9:30, paddlers will launch their boats and enjoy a scenic paddle on Black Creek where you’ll enjoy the water views, wildlife and fun!

Today’s journey will take us 6 miles up the winding Black Creek to about a mile past the railroad bridge. There are a few small beaches where we can get out and stretch our legs. The creek is named for the water coloration, caused by the presence of tannin from decaying leaves and vegetation. It is considered to be one of the cleanest creeks in the state. Clay County is a Blueways Community.

After lunch, paddlers can relax for the afternoon or explore the park’s hiking trails. After our 6PM dinner, paddlers will be treated to a benefit concert by one of Paddle Florida’s favorite musical performers. Musicians are donating their time and talents to this event, and concert proceeds will benefit our continuing place- based learning programs. We’ll end the evening around the campfire.

Day 3/Sunday, Jan 31: Camp Chowenwaw Park to Peter’s Creek Paddling Miles: 8

After breakfast at 7:30 a.m.,we’ll take a beautiful, leisurely paddle up Peters Creek in Green Cove Springs to see swamp/wetland banks, birds, and other wildlife. Total distance will be about 8 miles. A final lunch will be served as paddlers pack up their boats and camping gear and head back home with fond memories of a weekend spent on the water.

Mission Statement

PADDLE FLORIDA is a non-profit corporation that promotes water conservation, wildlife preservation, springs restoration, and waterways protection via fun and educational multi-day paddling trips in Florida’s most spectacular river and coastal environments. The vehicle for carrying out this mission is the staging of the multi-day paddling/camping trips in each of Florida’s five water management districts from October to April each year. Paddle Florida also seeks to promote Florida as an international destination for nature-based tourism in general, and paddling in particular.

Ranging from three to six days, trips are open to all paddling skill levels and designed to maximize enjoyment of Florida’s natural environments while engaging and empowering citizens so that they may become involved in the protection and restoration of our waterways.

If you wish to be pampered by professional guides, this isn’t the trip for you. But, if you want to experience a real community brought together under a common goal and by the thrill of adventure, Paddle Florida is the trip for you

The Meal Plan

Your Paddle Florida trip fee covers the meal plan, which provides hearty catered breakfasts and dinners, plus daily lunch snacks of assorted fruits, sandwich items, snacks, and drinks.

General Guidelines

Suggested Packing Lists

For Water: [Note: Unless you’re wearing it, every item you bring should be secured to your boat. Carabiners and bungee cords can be handy devices for this purpose.]

  1. Boat and paddle.  Need to rent?  Contact TBD
  2. PFD.  Every Paddle Florida participant must wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device while on the river (no ifs, ands, or buts).
  3. Every kayak and canoe should have two lines, a bow line and a stern line, each 8-10 feet in length, secured in such a way that they are readily accessible, but cannot come loose accidentally. Loose ropes increase the risk of entanglement in the event of a capsize.  Kayaks should have grab-loops at both bow and stern.
  4. An extra throw rope in case of emergencies should be stored safely in each boat.
  5. Attach a whistle to your PFD or body to signal for help in case of emergency.
  6. A knife.
  7. Waterproof matches or other fire source in waterproof covering.
  8. First aid kit—each vessel should bring a first aid kit stored inside a waterproof covering.
  9. Repair kit—each vessel should be able to make their own repairs (i.e., duct tape, sealant, waterproof tape).
  10. Rain gear—be prepared to get wet and potentially cold. Every participant should have access to a lightweight jacket or fleece, rain jacket, and rain pants or kayak skirt.
  11. Dry change of clothes—be prepared to take an unexpected swim. Every participant should have access to a dry change of clothes kept in a waterproof covering.
  12. Appropriate close-toed footwear that will protect your feet from unseen underwater hazards and permit you to walk comfortably on slippery and jagged limestone when launching and taking out.  Flip flops do not meet these criteria.
  13. Sun protection—sunburn might be the trip’s biggest hazard. Bring ample sunscreen and wear a protective hat and sunglasses.
  14. Mask and snorkel? You’ll be paddling by a dozen or so springs on this trip. Explore them!
  15. Water—drinking water will be readily available along the Paddle Florida route. Bring sufficient water bottles for the day’s paddle for everyone in your boat.
  16. Food—there is little access to restaurants or grocery stores along the Paddle Florida route. Lunch snacks each day are provided to registered participants. You may also want to bring along your own snacks.
  17. Dry Bag or Ziploc—bring a waterproof bag to protect additional items you don’t want to get wet, like your camera or cell phone.
  18. GPS unit? We’ll give you a map, but a GPS unit might also be handy to note locations of campsites and springs.

For Land:

  1. Tent
  2. Sleeping bag, pad, and pillow
  3. Camp chair
  4. Clothes to keep you comfortable in temperatures generally ranging from 50-85 degrees. Think layers. You’ll likely be wearing more during potentially chilly mornings, then peeling off layers as the day progresses. Remember dry shoes for when you’re in camp and keep in mind there are often hiking trails available at the parks we camp in.
  5. Bathing suit
  6. Headlamp and/or flashlight.
  7. Toiletries and medications.
  8. Other tent items: reading materials, iPod, ear plugs…?
  9. A camera to record the awesome memories you’ll be making!

We look forward to paddling with you. Please contact us if you have questions!

Documents Attached to Black Creek Paddling Festival:
2019 - 2020 USCA Waiver Release Form
Flager Trip 2019 - Paper Registraton Form
Flager Trip Itinerary - 2019
Registration Information