Paddle Punta Gorda–Mission Accomplished!


The first Paddle Punta Gorda on November 12, 2016 saw a total of 83 kayakers plus Guides and Naturalists enjoying five local water trails. As a part of TEAMs Maritime Committee, it emphasized that while Punta Gorda is a “water community,” that means even more than being adjacent to the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor.

This new event provided five great venues for paddlers to choose from:

Lettuce Lake  A paddle is for all skill levels, on tributary tidal waters from the Peace River, plus areas of flat lake water.  The area surrounds islands of varied colorful vegetation.  Birds, butterflies, turtles and alligators are quite common.lettuce-lake4

Alligator Creek  On this paddle, the waters are tidal and offer open waters, adventurous mangrove tunnels and open coves.  Eagles, Osprey and Herons are among the many species of birds that frequent the area.  Dolphins and stingrays are common in the creek.  This is a paddle to remember.

shell-creek5Shell Creek  This paddle is a favorite of many local paddlers.  The Creek is wide and slow moving.  Vegetation is lush and varied.  There is an abundance of birds and turtles with an occasional alligator sunning on the banks.   Options: paddle up stream or downstream.

Ponce De Leon Park  This paddle meanders through beautiful mangrove tunnels.  It is tidal and borders on Charlotte Harbor. Birds, crabs and other wildlife are abundant.  Occasionally, dolphin and manatee have been spotted. ponce-2

Peace River  This paddle is a on tidal waters of the Peace River.  Launching will be from Harbor Heights Park then crossing over the Peace River to explore the islands and shoreline, while observing the many species of birds and lush vegetation. peace-river3

Kudos to the Paddle Punda Gorda Planning committee, most of whom were first time TEAM event planners and the many volunteers who assisted on the day of the event. One of the paddlers was impressed with “The people running the event. You wouldn’t know it was a first run for them.   Bravo!”

Most participants were seasoned paddlers, but a few were new to the sport. One appreciative paddler said: “Extremely well organized, and everyone was very accommodating about different skill levels.”

kayak-collageThe array of kayaks and transportation modes made for a colorful display at the Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association parking lot, where the registration was held. Lunch followed the 2-hour paddles at the same location and paddlers were treated to live entertainment and some great giveaways. One lucky paddler won the grand prize, a carbon fiber kayak paddle.  

The event was such a success that 100% of those responding to the survey (which was most of the paddlers) said they would recommend the event to a friend.   As one paddler put it, the benefit was “Going where I’d never been.  Learning all of the paddling venues in the area that I was unaware of.” Mission accomplished!

To see all the photos from the paddles, go to our Paddle Punta Gorda Photo Gallery.