Uncategorized -

Try something new; experience the ‘Rivers of AWE’

For immediate release: May 26, 2011
Media contact: Wendy Dial, 850-488-9477

Try something new; experience the ‘Rivers of AWE’

The “Rivers of AWE” – the Aucilla, Wacissa and Econfina – flow through a surprisingly rugged and sparsely populated slice of Florida’s Big Bend region as they meander to the Gulf of Mexico. Anglers, paddlers and boaters exploring these beautiful, spring-fed rivers discover shady woodlands, wildlife and dramatic limestone sinks and outcroppings nestled in 47,622 acres of the Aucilla Wildlife Management Area, just southeast of Tallahassee.

So that young people, first-timers, visitors and residents can enjoy these three gems, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Office of Recreation Services produced a detailed map/guide, in partnership with the Suwannee River Water Management District.

All three rivers offer unique opportunities:

§  Find family fun on the Wacissa. Encourage your kids to leave their electronic devices at home and experience an outdoor adventure on the Wacissa River, a state-designated canoe trail and one of the most pristine rivers in North Florida. This is a wonderful place for beginning paddlers or families with children. Outfitters rent kayaks and canoes at Wacissa Springs County Park, and it’s just a short paddle to Big Blue Springs, a great swimming spot on a hot day.

§  Take the Aucilla challenge. The beautiful Aucilla River is also a state-designated canoe trail and offers a limited number of access points for small fishing boats. Some rocky shoals and a short stretch of rapids make this trip moderately strenuous for paddlers (depending on water level).

§  Experience solitude or fish on the Econfina, a river seldom visited by paddlers but popular with bank fishermen. There are multiple access points for hand-launching canoes or kayaks, and a few are suitable for launching small johnboats. Wildlife viewing is excellent as you travel over dark waters beneath a dense tree canopy.

All people have to do is grab the new guide, read it and go exploring. “Aucilla/Wacissa/Econfina: An Explorer’s Guide to North Florida’s Region of Rivers” is a two-sided, 22- by 26-inch guide, printed on water-resistant, durable paper. It includes detailed maps, highlights of the three rivers, GPS coordinates, mileage, shuttling directions for different trip options, photos and access locations. For each river, the guide recommends several popular excursions and includes mileage, time estimates and general descriptions.

To order a copy online from the Wildlife Foundation of Florida, go to http://shop.wildlifeflorida.org. The foundation suggests a $5 donation to cover the costs of printing and distribution, so that more of the funds it raises can go toward preservation of Florida’s wildlife resources. For more information, contact Liz Sparks, FWC Recreation Planner, at 850-922-6160.