More than 100,000 people flock to Hernando County for its waterways a year.

  • Project cost $10,000 for signage, beams, staff time
  • Paddling trail spans 4.5 miles, is free
  • Paddlers can launch from Bayport or Linda Pederson Park

To provide a new option, Hernando County has opened a new paddling trail for the novice or the expert.

Mary Lou Janson came from Tampa Thursday to try the new paddling trail at Bayport Park. "It's only about an hour's drive if you hit the traffic just right, and it's going to be well worth it, I think," said Janson.

The paddling trail spans 4.5 miles.

"From Linda Pedersen Park all the way down to Bayport, with restrooms at both ends and launching areas at both ends and signage all the way so you can't get lost," said Commissioner Wayne Dukes.

The signage gives the novice comfort along the trail.

"They feel intimidated by the coastal marsh, but with the signs up it gives them an easy route," said Aquatics Services Manager Keith Kolasa. "Gives them more comfort to follow a route and not have to really worry about carrying a compass or GPS with them."

Now paddlers have another option when it comes to coastal trails. County leaders hope it will ease congestion at Weeki Wachee.

"Along the way you'll see a lot of times eagles, definitely manatees in Jenkins Creek Run. It's a little bit more peaceful, quiet area," said Kolasa.

Paddlers can launch from either Bayport or Linda Pederson Park anytime and the trail is free.

The cost of the project was $10,000 for the signage, beams and staff time.