Florida has been feeling the bite of wildfires and record low water levels as the ongoing drought continues to plague the south. Most of the rivers throughout the state are at or below recorded historic lows making it hard to even find a place to paddle a canoe or kayak without dropping it in the bay or ocean. Even many area lakes are feeling the effects.
So what does this mean for local paddlers? More portages and time required to complete a float trip for one. There may also be more close encounters with wildlife as they compete for dwindling resources. The risk of heat exhaustion is also raised due to extreme temperatures and more exertion on the part of the paddler.
Many paddlers are choosing to switch their focus from rivers and creeks to paddling the bays and gulf waters. Still, others are finding relief by paddling spring-fed rivers and streams, but even the springs are feeling the pinch as water tables continue to drop. The only solution to this ongoing problem will be to receive rain and lots of it.
In the meantime paddlers can check river levels throughout the state by visiting the USGS website and be sure to bookmark it for future reference.