Sunday, October 12, 2014

City Celebrates River Blueway National Recreation Trail Day

Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson reads proclamation flanked by
City Commissioner Frank Cook (L) & Dan Tonsmeire, with Riverkeeper (R)

Apalachicola River Blueway National Recreation Trail Day was celebrated Saturday in Apalachicola by city officials along with a group of enthusiastic paddlers, the Apalachicola Riverkeeper and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

The celebration followed the U.S. Department of Interior June designation of the Apalachicola River Blueway as a National Recreation Trail, which preceded the Apalachicola Board of City Commissioners adoption of a proclamation at their August regular meeting proclaiming October 11, 2014, “Apalachicola River Blueway National Recreation Trail Celebration Day” throughout the Historic City of Apalachicola.

Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson pictured with the group of river paddlers
and Dan Tonsmeire, with Riverkeeper far right.

In addition to the national and local recognition the Apalachicola River Blueway had already received designation as a Florida Paddling Trail by the FDEP Office of Greenways & Trails, which placed it among the top river trails in the State of Florida.

The beautiful pristine Apalachicola River flows through the heart of one of the nation’s richest hotspots of biodiversity and is bordered by large tracts of undeveloped land with high bluffs, which are home to abundant wildlife and rare species of plants and animals.  The water trail, also home to a variety of fish stretches 106 miles from the dam in Chattahoochee to Apalachicola Bay. 

Paddlers coming down the Apalachicola River

The group of paddlers made the excursion paddling down the length of the trail that began on Tuesday, October 7th at Clyde Hopkins Park in Chattahoochee and ended Saturday afternoon  October 11th at Riverfront Park in Apalachicola.

After reaching Apalachicola the paddlers gathered for cheese and crackers inside the Apalachicola Center for History, Culture and Arts where they were greeted by Dan Tonsmeire with the Riverkeeper and Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson.  During the celebration Mayor Johnson read the proclamation adopted by the city designating October 11th as Apalachicola River Blueway National Recreation Trail Celebration Day.

The Blueway Trail is managed by the Apalachicola Riverkeeper, and the trail was mapped and a Blueway Guide created by the FDEP Office of Greenways & Trails.