Page 13 - OCHS HISTORY MAGAZINE JAN 2016
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name. Steffee Landing is uniquely     fend off urban sprawl. Although            paddlers to go down-current (South)
situated at the confluence of the     much of the creek and its surrounding      only through an amazing cypress
original “water highway” used by      lands have remained relatively             forest area, and bike rentals. Biking
the Seminole Indians and the modern   unchanged since the days of early          and hiking opportunities will expand
“land highway” (Hwy 192), which       settlers, there is still fluctuation and   greatly in the upcoming year due to
is a well-known tourist corridor      variation within the environment.          the imminent completion of a biking/
linking Disney World to the City of   Shingle Creek is fed by a large            hiking trail along the East shoreline
Kissimmee, 10 miles away. Paddling    watershed located in South Orange          of the Creek stretching from The
Center visitors on canoes and kayaks  County and North Osceola County.           Paddling Center facility to Babb
passing under Highway 192 quickly     During months of heavy rains, in late      Landing and the Pioneer Village
become immersed in the ecological     summer and early fall, water levels        complex, located just over a mile
diversity and natural beauty that is  may rise 1 to 3 feet over the course       to the North. A newly constructed
                                                                                 bridge over the creek at Babb Landing
Shingle Creek, experiencing what             of several weeks as evidenced       will allow bikers/hikers to cross over
the Seminole Indians may have                by the high water marks on the      to the West shoreline of the creek and
experienced 200 years ago.                   cypress trees lining the Creek.     continue North toward the county line
Today, Shingle Creek is remarkably           High water levels typically are     and beyond. Plans for expanding this
undisturbed. This is due, in part,           associated with swifter currents,   biking/hiking trail North to Clermont
to the amazing efforts put forth by          and there are times when only       and the West Orange Biking Trial are
Osceola County to acquire lands              experienced paddlers are able       being explored, as are plans to link
adjacent to the creek in attempts to         to successfully navigate the        the East and West coast of Florida
                                             1.25 mile South paddling trail      via a “Coast-to-Coast” biking trail
                                             from the launch point at The        from Port Canaveral to St. Petersburg.
                                             Paddling Center facility. Even      Once the coast-to-coast and North-to-
                                             during these wet months,            South biking trail sections are linked
                                             visitors enjoy a wide-open          into a continuous route, there will
                                             paddling trail that comprises       exist a magnificent biking, hiking,
                                             the 1.25 mile North paddling        and paddling trail complex within
                                             trail. Both North and South         Central Florida with Shingle Creek
                                             paddling trails offer a diverse     and The Paddling Center being a
                                             array of wildlife, such as          central hub, where all three tails
                                             alligators, wading birds, turtles,  come together. The county also has
                                             otters, Beautiful Cypress Forest    a long-held vision of expanding the
                                             Scenery and eagles; as well as      paddling trail to the South, beyond
                                             some beautiful flora – Spanish      West Lake Toho and utilizing the
                                             moss, bromeliads, cypress trees,    Kissimmee River to reach the
                                             and water lilies. Surprisingly,     Everglades. This vision includes
                                             due to the constant water flow      identifying selected campsites spaced
                                             throughout the year, mosquitoes     10 miles apart, allowing paddlers to
                                             are virtually non-existent          complete multiple day-long paddles
                                             when on the water, making           starting from Shingle Creek, the
                                             it an exceptionally pleasant        headwaters of the Everglades, to Lake
                                             experience for all.                 Okeechobee. In summary, Osceola
                                                                                 County’s vision for developing
                                             To accommodate the diverse          an eco-friendly bike-hike-paddle
                                             needs of local organizations and    corridor that will be available for
                                             groups, as well as visitors from    all to enjoy is well on its way to
                                             within and outside the U.S., The    becoming a reality!
                                             Paddling Center has developed
                                             several special programs during     	
                                      its first year in existence. These
                                      include guided and unguided eco-                            OCHS HISTORY MAGAZINE | 13
                                      tours, educational classes (water- and
                                      land-based), team building activities,
                                      and kayak training classes. Coming
                                      soon will be camping and clamping
                                      (catered camping) on Makinson
                                      Island located on West Lake Toho, as
                                      well as a shuttle van service allowing
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