|Florida Nature: Blackwater River State Park|
River State Park is a Florida State Park located fifteen miles northeast
of Milton, near Harold, off U.S. 90. The address is 7720 Deaton Bridge
Blackwater River State Park is considered one of the purest sand-bottom rivers in the world, the Blackwater River is in its natural state for almost its entire length. Beginning 45 miles upstream in Alabama, it continues downstream for 13 miles before emptying into Blackwater Bay. The river's sand bottom, dark tannin waters and contrasting large, white sandbars have drawn worldwide attention and provide the perfect setting for this 590- acre park. The river attracts paddlers from far and wide and has been designated a Florida canoe trail. The last two miles of the trail are located within the park. Besides being a favorite destination for canoeists and kayakers, Blackwater River offers opportunities for a variety of outdoor recreation. The river is one of the purest sand-bottom rivers in the nation, making this park a popular place for swimming, fishing, camping, and paddling. Shaded campsites are just a short walk from the river, and visitors can enjoy a picnic at a pavilion overlooking the river.
Nature enthusiasts will enjoy strolling along trails through undisturbed natural communities. In 1980 the park was certified as a Registered State Natural Feature for possessing exceptional value in illustrating the natural history of Florida. Atlantic white cedars line the river and one of them was recognized in 1982 as a Florida Champion tree, one of the largest and oldest of its species.
TThe river and diversity of terrain account for the many plant communities found in the park. The Blackwater has created oxbows and natural levees that have become ponds, swamps and scrubby ridges. Low-lying areas along the river and large streams are seasonally inundated by flood waters. The terrain, plant communities and wildlife are highlighted along the park's three nature trails and guided walks and campfire programs for park guests are offered seasonally.
Upland pine forests dotted with persimmon, turkey oak, sweetgum, flowering dogwood and other shrubs are found in the park. Open canopy forests combine different types of pine and dense groundcover such as gallberry, saw palmetto, wiregrass, wild blueberry and wax myrtle. Along the river and large streams in the floodplain area, the forest is dominated by various species of oaks and hickory, red maple, sycamore, magnolia, holly, tupelo and azaleas. The water level in the floodplain and swamp lakes fluctuates and may even become completely dry. Plants vary according to the water supply. Look for water fern, water lily, coontail, bladderwort, spatterdock and other emergent plants. White-tailed deer, bobcats and turkeys are quite common. River otter may be seen occasionally and the graceful Mississippi kite is often observed soaring overhead in the summer.
The park has such amenities as birding, boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking, kayaking, picnicking areas, swimming, tubing, wildlife viewing and full camping facilities. The main picnicking area has covered picnicking pavilions, restrooms, and a spacious parking lot. Bring your tubes and enjoy a leisurely float down the river to the Deaton Bridge. It is a short 1 mile hike back to the parking lot to retrieve your vehicle. Very kid friendly park with a variety of areas for swimming.
Blackwater River State Park was established in 1967. The park opened to the public on November 22, 1968 and consisted of 360 acres. On July 17, 1981, the park acquired 230 acres from the Division of Forestry. Today, the park contains 590 acres of upland pine forests, swamps, and scrubby ridges and is surrounded by the Blackwater River State Forest. Atlantic white cedars line the river and the 1982 Florida Champion, recognized as the largest of its species, is found within the park. The park was also certified as an official Registered State Natural Feature in 1980 for possessing “exceptional value in illustrating the natural history of Florida”.
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Blackwater River State Park Florida
Blackwater River State Park is considered one of the purest sand-bottom rivers in the world. The Florida park is located located fifteen miles northeast of Milton, near Harold, off U.S. 90. The river's sand bottom, dark tannin waters and contrasting large, white sandbars have drawn worldwide attention and provide the perfect setting for this 590- acre park.
Visitors can launch their canoes at this state designated canoe trail. Blackwater River State Park is a popular place for swimming, fishing, camping, and paddling. Shaded campsites are just a short walk from the river, and visitors can enjoy a picnic at a pavilion overlooking the river. Blackwater River State Park is truly Floridian nature at its best!
Written by: Brenda Arnold
Blackwater River State Park
Date published: 10/22/2013
4 / 5 stars