|More Than Manatees and Three Sisters Spring
|Chassahowitzka is a name derived from the Native American description of the land of hanging pumpkins. A Seminole
word that means “hanging pumpkins,” This word is constructed from “pumpkins” chasi, and wiski, “hanging loose.”
The Chassahowitzka is one of the Nature Coast's most protected rivers with the majority of the shoreline designated as
either State Forest or National Wildlife Refuge. Many small creeks lead from springs buried deep in the woods to the main
river. This river is tidal and can be very shallow at the lowest tides and especially with a strong east wind. Paddlers, please
give way to power boats who are often constrained by draft in the shallow main river channel.
With each season comes different wildlife viewing opportunities. Birding is consistently good with numerous sightings of
osprey, herons, egrets, ibis, wood stork, cormorants, vultures, and anhingas. Otter sightings become more common in the
spring and you may also catch a glimpse of swallowtail kites. Bald eagles are more frequent in winter months and a small
population of manatees has become established in the river.
The Rainbow River is one of Florida Last Great Spring Systems. The springs had been a tourist attraction since the early
1930s, and became a highly popular private park in the 1960s with glass bottom boat and gondola rides, riverboat tours,
log raft rides, submarine boat tours and other activities. After the attraction closed in 1974, local citizens pressed the state
of Florida to purchase the lands around the springs.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service now manages it as Rainbow Springs State
Park. In addition, Rainbow Springs is designated a National Natural Landmark and the Rainbow River is an Aquatic
Preserve and an Outstanding Florida Water.
Rainbow Springs (the headwaters) is the fourth largest and one of the most picturesque of Florida’s first magnitude
springs. Archaeological evidence dating back 12,000 years ago shows that Rainbow Springs was important to prehistoric
people for clean water, food and making stone tools.
On this tour we paddle from KP Hole (a Marion County Park), as a licensed tour operator, to Rainbow Springs State Park.
Ample opportunities for a quick dip into the gin clear waters always present themselves if one is so inclined.
|St. Martins Marsh Back Country Our Favorite Tour Anytime
|Rainbow River Best Paddled Weekdays