Florida Wekiwa-St Johns River Ramble
Nov. 30 - Dec. 3, 2012
A Seminole County Springtime treat.
Capacity: 100 people
Distance: approx 30 mi.
Outfitter:Adventures in Florida
Come join us Nov. 30-Dec. 3, 2012, for paddling, camping, history, campfires and camaraderie as Paddle Florida hosts its second annual Wekiwa/St. Johns River Ramble.
You will camp two nights at Wekiwa Springs State Park and one night at Wilson's Landing, a Seminole County facility on the Wekiva River.
You will check in at Wekiwa Springs State Park on Friday. After spending the night in Wekiva Springs State Park cabins, the following morning we will shuttle you up-river to Kings Landing for a paddle 8.5 miles back to Wekiva Springs State Park. Following a second night in state park cabins, the next day the group will paddle from Wekwa Springs State Park to Wilson's Landing, 9 miles down-river. On Monday, we'll paddle 13 miles to the St. Johns River and Blue Spring State Park for a final barbeque.
Registration fees include breakfast and dinner each day, a lunch stop on the river, gear transport, evening entertainment, an event t-shirt and boat sticker. All proceeds go to support Paddle Florida, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to promote water conservation, wildlife preservation, restoration of springs and protection of Florida's waterways.
Early Native Americans are believed to be the first to live in this area, beginning around 8500 BC and continuing until they were forced out in the 1800s. They left a number of mounds that are still visible today. The name Wekiwa, which simply means "a spring" in the Muscogee language, is spelled either "Wekiva" or "Wekiwa."
In the mid 1800s, this area was used primarily for farming and milling. After the Civil War, the tourism industry arrived and a hotel and other attractions were constructed at the spring. These operated until the Great Depression.
The collection of turpentine was an important economic activity in the late 1800s and continued until the late 1930s. The grooves these harvesters cut into the tree to make their extractions resemble a cat's whiskers. Look for these "cat faces" on some of the very old pine trees.
This area was heavily timbered in the 1930s. You can still see old logging roads and railroad grades left by the logging companies.