West Florida is currently facing another red tide scare–currently from the south end of Tampa Bay south to almost Monroe County. For latest tracking:
We seem to get this a lot, and have been taking massive fish-kills as matter-of-fact. What this really means is scaling back industrial fertilization enough to protect our environment. The fertilizer washes off the land, into the rivers, hits the warm Gulf waters and causes the algal blooms that make the water unbreathable for the fish.
I know I’ve skipped a ton of science, but most of us have heard it far too much lately.
Before you discount me as just a tree-hugging environmentalist, remember there are hard economic dollars that should motivate ALL of us to have some nice beaches for our visitors. The outdoor industry is currently growing nationwide. In February, the Federal Government valued it at 373 Billion, or 2% of our GDP:
That leads me to believe this is going to get worked out in favor of being better stewards of our lands and waters. While that gets worked out, the question remains: where the heck am I going to go paddling this weekend?
On the West Coast of Florida, our choices are pretty much heading North or inland.
At the moment, I don’t fish. I probably should. It’s really good for you and it’s pretty much free food. That said, I have no interest in salt water kayaking. So, I was probably headed inland anyway!
We’ve had a lot of rain lately, meaning some of the lower waters will be passable.
My personal favorite is Juniper Creek, but last time we were there in the rainy season the creek was closed. Why would that be a problem? Lots of overhead branches and skull-splitting trees across the water. Ouch!
Some sections of the Withlacoochee should be passable too. Fair warning: I’ve struck out there as well. The section at the Withlacoochee River County Park was just about clogged with fallen trees. After 10 portages, we had to give up. Real shame, because it’s a gorgeous river.
The Peace River is amazing too, but currents during the rainy season are so swift you’ll be heading downstream only. My only trip there I was fortunate to get a ride back with a local fisherman to get the van.