The Ocklawaha River – Ray Wayside to Gore’s Landing 2020

Paddling the Ocklawaha RiverThe Ocklawaha River is the principal tributary of the St. Johns River. Its main source is Lake Griffin, part of the Harris chain of lakes in Lake County, Florida. The Ocklawaha River watershed includes parts of the Green Swamp, most of Lake County, and portions of Marion, Alachua, and Putnam counties. The key tributary to the Ocklawaha is the Silver River, which originates in Silver Springs, Fl…James

Ocklawaha River – Bear Creek Hwy 19 Loop

Leaving a Shady Rest StopToday we paddled close to home. One of the last remaining sections of the Ocklawaha River, that I have paddled but have yet to document. The entire Ocklawaha River – Bear Creek Loop, which begins at the Hwy 19 Bridge, goes East to the St Johns River, then back up Bear Creek, is about a 10-mile paddle. Today, however, we paddled a 6.5-mile loop, entering Bear Creek 3.5 miles down the Ocklawaha.

Americas Most Endangered Rivers – The Ocklawaha River #9

An Ocklawaha MorningThis week the Ocklawaha River was added, at #9, to the list of Americas Most Endangered Rivers! If you have ever paddled this river during a Rodman drawdown, you will understand the significance of this designation. It is definitely not a list we want to see one of our Florida’s waterways on! Let’s hope this brings added attention to the cause for restoring this awesome river!…James

The Ocklawaha Drawdown is Over

An Ocklawaha MorningThis past Saturday, Feb 29th, we paddled the 14 mile stretch from Eureka West to Orange Springs and enjoyed Cannon Springs for the last time until the next drawdown. It’s sad to see so many dead trees as well as current, Palms and Cypress, decaying before our eyes due to the high water caused by damming the Ocklawaha. Seeing so many tree seedlings sprouting on the banks, nature’s natural, forest regeneration, happening before our eyes, only to be covered over to die, is disheartening…James

An Ocklawaha Moonrise and Sunset

Sunset through the Tree TrunksWith the Rodman Reservoir drawdown taking place every few years, it presents a wonderful opportunity to experience paddling on the original Ocklawaha channel, lined with the towering remnants of Bald Cypress, Tupelo, and Ash, killed when the reservoir was filled. These past couple of weeks I have shared paddles to the ‘Sentinel Cypress’, an early morning Sunrise through a cold mist, and today I share a unique paddle to observe the January ‘Wolf’ Moon rising over the Ocklawaha, Enjoy!…James

An Ocklawaha River Sunrise

Ocklawaha SunriseThis morning I planned a short trip over to the Ocklawaha River near Orange Springs in order to capture photographs of the sunrise through the cold haze and dead tree trunks, exposed during the Rodman Dam drawdown. I was on the water by 7:00 am, it was in the low 40°’s but well worth it. Not a soul around, hundreds of Storks, Limpkins, and Herons just waking up. The haze, the silence, and the silhouettes of dead tree trunks made for an eerie, yet beautiful setting…totally cool!…James

Ocklawaha River – Paynes Landing to Orange Springs

Ocklawaha River WildernessRodman Reservoir is currently in a drawdown, where the water level goes from an average of 18′ – 20′ down to approximately 11′. The drawdown exposes the original Ocklawaha River channel along with the remains of hundreds of Cypress tree stumps that once lined the banks of the river. Today, Florida Paddle Notes explores a portion of the ‘Lower Ocklawaha’ from Paynes Landing to Orange Springs. The route is quite scenic during the drawdown with plenty of wildlife to view…James

Ocklawaha River – Rodman Reservoir Drawdown

Ocklawaha ReflectionRodman Reservoir is currently in a drawdown, where the water level goes from an average of 18′ – 20′ down to approximately 11′. The drawdown exposes the original Ocklawaha River channel along with the remains of hundreds of Cypress tree stumps that once lined the banks of the river. Several springs known as ‘hidden’ or ‘lost’ springs’ are also now revealed with the lower water level and today’s paddle takes Florida Paddle Notes to a few of these springs…James