It should come as little surprise to savvy Florida development councils that many tourists seek natural areas and outdoor activities for their vacations. The state is blessed with a climate and the natural surroundings that make it a destination for nature-based tourism. The state of Florida has over 40 designated paddling trails on various rivers and streams as well as the 1515 mile Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail.
The Florida Paddling Trails Association is inviting communities on these Blueways and river trails to participate in the Florida Paddling Trails Blueway Community Program.
If your community offers basic tourism amenities such as lodging and restaurants, then FPTA can help you market your resources to outdoor recreation enthusiasts as a nature-based tourism destination, resulting in local economic stimulus and increased public awareness of natural Florida. Casual paddlers, day paddlers, and weekend paddlers all want to enjoy the outdoors and your community can provide the gateway to their experience via the Florida Paddling Trails.
For a community to apply for Florida Blueway Community status, key criteria includes:
- Proximity to a Florida paddling trail or Blueway
- Availability of accommodations, from hotels to B&Bs to campgrounds
- Availability of restaurants and places to eat
- Additional outdoor recreation opportunities such as hiking and biking trails, birding, boating, fishing, beaches or traditional visitor draws such as historic districts, museums, shopping and major attractions
The process of being designated a Blueway Community begins by bringing together local community leaders, tourism affiliates, business leaders, and members of the Florida Paddling Trails Association to discuss the communities' nature-based tourism ideas and needs.
A representative from Florida Paddling Trails Association will become your key contact, assisting your community in providing visitors information about the Florida Paddling Trails and in scheduling guided paddling trips as well as providing general knowledge about the trail in your area.
By working together on promotional products, educational resources and special events, FPTA and the Blueway Community can increase each others ability to apply for targeted grants to assist in the community's efforts towards nature-based tourism development, economic development, and trail related infrastructure development.
We provide the know-how and volunteer support, you provide the destination and community support. It's a great partnership to bring more people to your community.