Trio discusses a book on the river routes of the Citrus | Local News
There are several ways to experience the diverse wildlife and landscapes of Citrus County.
Wanting to keep this experience accessible to both novice and veteran adventurers, locals Max Schulman and Matt Clemons have co-authored a guide showcasing a number of paddling trails through the county’s precious waterways.
âIn Search of Trail Treasures, Paddling Citrus County,â was released in late 2017, after a year of mapping, photographing, documenting and running 22 different water trails around the county’s coastal, river and lake systems.
âIt’s an accumulation of a lot of experience on the water in Citrus County, and it will be very helpful for kayakers,â said Clemons. âIt’s supposed to be a global representation of Citrus County, and get us to the point where we’re not just manatees and Three Sisters. There is so much to do here.
âIf you want that upscale experienceâ¦ we have it in our county,â added Schulman. âThe basis has to be that people will come here for a great adventure in which they are safe and which they greatly enjoy. “
Schulman and Clemons’ book, illustrated and designed by their colleague Tom Craig, also has another mission: to advocate for sustainable ecotourism by educating readers on betting practices to interact with the environment.
âIt’s a matter of fitness and lifestyle, and part of recruiting people to live here and part of educating our own people,â Schulman said. âIt’s about supporting the county and especially the common thing that we all want to see: sustainable ecotourism.
In addition to introducing the waters of Citrus County, the guide provides readers with a checklist of equipment and safety measures, including how to set up and submit a flotation plan and how to check the weather, tides and flow rates.
âPart of the book that makes it different and better is what people need to do before they come out,â Schulman said. “This is how to plan the perfect kayak trip.”
Choosing a paddle boat like a kayak, canoe or paddle board is not that simple.
Rushing unconscious to buy excursion gear, paddle boats and paddles can lead to uncomfortable, unpleasant and even dangerous journeys, Schulman and Clemons agreed.
Clemons, owner of Aardvarks Florida Kayak Company in Crystal River, said anyone looking to buy or rent a paddle steamer should understand in advance what their experience is, where they are going, how far they are going. and who she ‘go with.
âWhat works for one person may not work for a second person,â Clemons said.
Nothing is more important than having a life jacket or personal flotation device, especially one that is suitable for travel at sea or near shore.
âSafety is always first on my mind,â Clemons said.
Clemons also recommends future paddlers to take lessons before venturing out.
Kayak shops or other groups affiliated with the American Canoe Association or the British Canoeing Union have the most reliable courses from basic to advanced, Clemons said.
âI couldn’t believe how much you need to learn about your engine,â said Schulman, referring to the oars and paddles.
Each section of the book on a particular paddling trail gives a summary of the trip and a map, detailing the routes and where the appropriate launches are located, as well as points of interest, such as restaurants, campsites, and restrooms.
âWe have targeted work aids and planning aids that allow a kayaker to do it safely but also with precision,â said Schulman.
Of course, paddlers don’t have to follow the routes in the book.
However, there are some places that require a more vigilant and experienced type of paddler, like the difficult Rousseau Lake to navigate between Citrus, Marion and Levy counties – “… which is a really difficult place to paddle, that in totally worth it, but it’s really hard to know where you are, âsaid Schulman.
Schulman said three contributors share their own way of cruising Rousseau Lake.
âIt’s important to have good cards,â he said.
Clemons and Schulman have also run a pair of through paddles or multi-day tours that traverse Citrus County, such as the Withlacoochee South Paddle Trail and the Citrus County segments of the Florida Saltwater Circumnavigation Trail.
Prior to this book, Schulman and Craig already had a local guide under their belt: âFinding Trail Treasures, Citrus County,â which focused on the area’s biking and hiking trails.
After the publication of their first guide in December 2016, Schulman and Craig began compiling their photos and diaries of their trips on the water for a sequel.
They turned to Clemons for advice on the coastal areas he recommended presenting.
âThe coastal stuff for me is where my heart is,â Clemons said.
Clemons said he wrote a journal on these trails on his company’s website and found an opportunity to expand his knowledge with Schulman’s offer to co-write the book.
âI’ve wanted to do this for a long time,â Clemons said. âHalf of it was already written on the website. “
Schulman said Clemons was invaluable when it came to correcting what he collected during his travels and that Clemons asked him and Craig to document.
Introducing Citrus County’s Tsala Apopka Lakes and the Withlacoochee River was another main focus of the book, said Schulman, who himself had experience in these areas.
Schulman, Clemons and Craig also benefited from assistance from a variety of private, civic and government contributors, who either helped by providing GPS data, photographs or expertise.
Supporters included the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails, and the Citrus County Aquatics Division.
Discover Crystal River Florida, Visit Florida, and the Tourist Development Council also funded and contributed to part of the guide.
After collating and correcting their notes and perusing over 6,000 photos of Craig, the Citrus County Audubon Society and the Nature Coast Ramblers, the book’s authors were due to publish in late December.
Clemons and Schulman said they didn’t expect to make any money from their book. Instead, they hope to spread its message through conferences at various organizations, which in turn will store their book on the Citrus County Treasure Search.
âWe’re not going to make a lot of money with this book, and it’s not about the money,â Schulman said. “I really have hope for this book.”
âFinding Trail Treasures, Paddling Citrus Countyâ is sold at several locations, including Aardvarks Florida Kayak Company, located at 707 N. Citrus Ave. in Crystal River.