Paddleboard & Kayak the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve a Woolverton Historical Guided Tour
NOT OFFERED AT THIS TIME DUE TO AN EPA ISSUE. PLEASE CHECK BACK WE WILL UPDATE YOU WHEN THE WATER IS CLEAN. Enjoy a quiet tour of the wildlife that surrounds mangroves. Paddle along side the crew of Seashore Eco Tours. View many birds, fish, and sea life during this guided tour. The Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve is one of the most amazing places to paddle and home to the Woolverton Trails. Florida enacted the Aquatic Preserves Act as a statewide waterway protection measure. The mission is to protect, maintain and preserve biological resources for future generations. This includes seagrass flats, mangroves, coastal and wetland wildlife. The Woolverton Trails feature amazing views of wildlife. Kayak through canopy mangrove forests while exploring natural coastal conditions. Mangrove forests are tidal wetlands that inhabit low energy shorelines in the coastal areas of southwest Florida. Mangrove forests are very high in ecological value, and contribute much to the health of our waterways. Their root systems stabilize shoreline areas, buffer storm surge and help prevent erosion. Mangroves provide nesting habitat for many native, and endangered coastal birds. Kayak the Woolverton Trails and discover the many fish that surround the mangrove forests.
Disclaimer: Mangrove tunnels are tide dependent. Tides are lower in winter months. Tides are also variable depending on the moon cycle. Due to safety, tour guides assess the tides in the area before sending groups into the tunnels. We cannot guarantee safe access into the Woolverton Trails every trip. Trips are led through the coastal waterways of the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve. Trips are guaranteed to be safe, fun and educational!
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Private Guided Eco Tour Options Available Year Around
Private tours can be requested anytime by calling (941) 234-4311. Pricing is the same for a private tour options and require a booking min. of 4 people. Please keep in mind that mosquitos breed in mangroves and their breeding season is May-October. Also be advised that Winter tides can create extreme low tides preventing guides from taking participants safely through the mangroves. We will advise you of conditions if you call us over the phone . If you book online please note that tour guides may lead you on a Barrier Island tour of the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve based on the conditions of the mangrove trails.
Kayak & Paddle Board The Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve
Join the crew of Seashore Eco Tours on a guided tour of The Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve. This are is home to the Woolverton Trails. Book a paddling adventure to learn more about the Woolverton Trails today!
Kayak Rentals Available Daily by Reservation. Call (941) 234-4311 to Book.
||Free delivery & pickup from Osprey to Englewood
||Free delivery & pickup from Osprey to Englewood
*Please Note: Seashore Eco Tours is only at locations by reservation and all appointments must be made in advance. Cash and credit payments are NOT accepted on site due to permitting laws.
Same Day Service Available
Please call (855) 2PADDLE (855) 272-3353 to reserve or check our schedule in the online booking system.
Seashore Eco Tours Guided Tours include all the rental equipment needed for your SUP adventure as well as instruction.
Water Safety Requirements
Participants must be able to swim even though you may not get wet during the paddleboard adventure.
Parental Supervision Required:
Parent/Guardian must accompany children under 15 on the tours. Parents are responsible for their children during the tour. It is recommended that small children under 100 pounds ride along on a parents board. Weight must be under 300 lbs total on the paddle board.
Kayak and Paddle Board the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve
Southwest Florida is a natural coastline with many access points into local waterways. Placida road in Englewood features launch locations to amazing mangrove forests located in backwater areas. The Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve is one of the most diverse estuaries in Florida. This area covers a large portion of Southwest Florida and includes Coral Creek, Catfish Creek and Gasparilla Sound. This coastal waterway is filled with wildlife and supports over 100 species of native and migratory birds. Dolphins, manatees and coastal fish are also found when paddling in this coastal environment. One of my favorite places to launch from is located under the bridge by the Fishery. This area is rich with history and features of one the best paddling destinations in the area, The Woolverton Trails.
The trails feature over six and half miles of canopy mangrove trails and a rich local history. This coastal paddling destination was not always a mangrove forest. This coastal area was a sandflat prior to a dredging project in the mid 60’s. There was not even a mangrove at the time of the dredging. After the sandflats were dredged, a tidal flow was created and then mangrove seeds floated into the trails. The red and black mangroves have since blossomed into a canopy mangrove forest of trails.
They are several local theories on why the trails were created, however one seems to be most accurate. The dredging project was conducted as a means of mosquito control for our local area. Creating a tidal flow through an area with stagnant water disrupted the mosquito breeding area, decreasing their population and preventing the spread of disease carried by mosquitos. Even though the trails were dredged years ago, access is still available for paddling through the trails.
A historical overview of Ed Woolverton
Over 40 years ago, Edwin Woolverton discovered miles of paddling trails located in the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve. Ed purchased his home located behind Gasparilla Marina because of the access to the private cancel in his backyard. Ed is a boater and would take a sport canoe with a motor on the back. He would store the boat by the dock outside his home. He found the trails right away by boating out of the back of his canal. Ed was looking for a good fishing spot on windy days. The mangroves were more open when he first discovered them therefore, fitting his small boat through the trails was not a problem then. The trails were a great way to travel to Catfish Creek without having to go out into the wider part of the bay. He would travel through the trails for fishing. He was proud to catch his first snook in the trails. Ed Woolverton discovered Charlotte County’s best-kept paddling secret.
Ed put forth a lot of effort into figuring out the maze of trails. He numbered all of trails that connect together, and drew numbered maps to show the way. Ed is an artist, and master woodcarver. His creativity and passion for his discovery allowed the trails to blossom into a destination paddling location for many others.
Ed Ingle named the trails after Ed Woolverton in dedication of his discovery and put up the first signs. Since then Ed Woolverton hand carves new signs when windstorms take down the ones at the entrance of the trails. Ed Woolverton is now 98 years old and has trouble getting into a kayak. Richard Woolverton, Ed’s son has been maintaining the trails for his father. He hopes to keep the history of his father’s discovery alive by allowing paddlers to continually visit the mangroves. He is also very passionate about the mangrove trails and would like to see people experience the unique atmosphere of trails. Richard has been paddling the trails and replacing faded or fallen numbers of the trails. As of December 2014, Richard has restored all of the signs in the trails.
The Woolverton’s hope to see paddlers enjoying the maze of trails. Ed shared his maps and discovery with Captain Marian of Grande Tours over 20 years ago. The Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve was Captain Marian’s home and paddling backyard. Captain Marian was the pioneer of Charlotte County’s paddle sports industry. She began paddling trips through the trails and featured this location as a premiere paddle destination. The trails did not disappoint and provided memorable experiences to the thousands of people that paddled at Grande Tours. Sadly to many in the area Grande Tours is no longer open and the trails have not been traveled as frequently.
Seashore Eco Tours has recently started offering kayaking trips through the maze of trails known as Woolverton Trails. Two hour kayaking trips launch under the bridge by Fishery Road in Placida. Paddlers can either kayak or stand up paddle through The Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve. Find out more today by calling (855) 2PADDLE or (855) 272-3353.