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Reported: Nov. 2012

Upper Peace River Paddling Trail... Bartow to Fort Meade

The upper river (past Fort Meade) can be very shallow and impassable when the water is low, a positive is that there is no motorboat traffic. Phosphate mining and agriculture led to the deterioration of the upper river and Lake Hancock. The Upper Peace River Watershed Restoration Initiative seeks to correct the damage.

Upper Peace River Paddling Trail
(tap or hover over photo for larger view)
SR 60 Launch, Bartow
Parking only, no facilities. The river can be very shallow here and impassable. The launch area was popular with fishermen, unfortunately we saw a lot of trash along the riverbank. Peace River-paddle florida, kayak, canoePeace River-paddle florida, kayak, canoe
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Heritage Peace River Landing
CR 640, Homeland, FL
Launch downstream
Here the river is narrow with a swifter current, sections can be impassable during periods of low water. Very scenic, with large moss-draped cypress.
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Launch area, parking only, no facilities Pretty stretch through moss-draped cypress A creek feeding into the river
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With low water, some light rapids
CR 640 Launch upstream
The river alternates between wide (some areas seeming like lakes) and narrow; the water was more muddy here. Many birds seen through this section, plus a gator sunning on the shore.
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Leaving the launch Gator
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CR 640 bridge, the only noise along this section of the river Approaching boardwalk at Mosaic Peace River Park Log blocked the river, we decided to turn around
Birds - Flocks of white ibis
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This little island near the launch was a  popular roosting spot
Mosaic Peace River Park
The 460-acre park near Bartow, FL, is built on the site of an old phosphate mine and represents a reclamation project. Parking, restrooms, a boardwalk through oak and cypress to the river, picnic, hiking trails, interpretative signs.
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Mosaic Peace River Park Boardwalk to
Peace River
River from the boardwalk Boardwalk from
the river
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About reclaiming the river
Fort Meade Outdoor Recreation Area
US 98, Fort Meade, FL
The river in this area was fed by several streams and more clear, a dark tea color. Near the launch at US 98 there was some road noise, but once away from the road the river's peaceful nature was restored. With low water the current can be swift with some light rapids; be prepared to drag your kayak or canoe, or turn around. Peace River-paddle florida, kayak, canoePeace River-paddle florida, kayak, canoe
Upstream
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Launch at the Fort Meade Outdoor Recreation Area; parking, fishing, picnicking, no facilities Many birds and ibis such as this one
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US 98 bridge "Canyon" walls, along a stretch with private property We turned around at this log blocking the river
Downstream
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A stream feeding the river
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Picnic spot   After dragging the kayaks in a couple of spots over the rocky bottom, we decided to turn around as the area ahead looked no better More ibis Back to the launch

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