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Drinking water and snacks
Binoculars and identification guides
Cell phone (for emergency use)
Closed-toe shoes that can get wet
A plan left with a friend or family member that identifies which trail you will be on and when you expect to return
Local tide charts - many trails are difficult to navigate at low tide
Your Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
Weedon Island Preserve, an expansive 1,046-acre park on Tampa Bay comprising mostly marine habitats,
is also a kayakers' delight. The history of Weedon Island goes back 5,000 years when early peoples such as the Manasotas made this their coastal home. Paddlers visiting Weedon Island Preserve can enjoy natural Florida by leisurely floating along the shores of Riviera Bay or on the South Paddling Trail.
The South Trail, however, is the signature one and by far the most intriguing. Featuring several long, dark and narrow corridors of thick mangrove canopies, the trail periodically leads into open saltwater ponds where sunlight penetrates the water's surface, revealing lush seagrass beds. The mangrove swamps and seagrasses are the prime habitats for dozens of marine species and provide roosting and feeding areas for wading birds.
Endangered birds seen by kayakers at Weedon Island include wood stork and bald eagle. The preserve is also home to a year-round population of West Indian manatees which are sometime spotted by paddlers.
It's best to make the trip at high tide and carefully follow the trail markers as you paddle--the mangrove tunnels can seems like a labyrinth.
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