St. Johns River Paddling Trail
The St. Johns River is Florida’s only American Heritage River. With nine public landings on the river and twenty public landings on attached waterways within the county, it is easily accessible. For centuries Florida’s original inhabitants paddled Putnam County’s river. There are scores of Native American historic sites along the river including the Mr. Royal Indian Mound site near Fruitland explored by John Bartram. Palatka and this section of the river was the main tourism destination in Florida during the second half of the 19th century. Wildlife on the river includes wild hogs, whitetail deer, Virginia opossums, river otters, raccoons, grey squirrels, wildcats, Florida black bear and manatees. Reptile species include water moccasins, rattle snakes, water snakes, gopher frogs, salamanders and alligators. Birdlife includes swallow-tailed kites, sand hills cranes, osprey, bald eagles, brown pelicans, sea gulls, kingfishers, humming birds, wild turkey and many species of wading birds. This section of the St. Johns River is a state designated Florida paddling trail.