In the northeastern Gulf of Mexico flows forth the mouth of the little mighty Ecofina River. These brackish tannin-stained waters are a life source for the myriad of fresh and saltwater inhabitants both big and small from blue crab to the graceful manatee. From the northern end of the river-a call to back to nature on a narrow stream-to its southern end slowly emptying into Apalachee Bay and into the Gulf of Mexico, Ecofina River is one of Florida’s premier waterways.
In the 1860’s, this area was a hotbed for Confederate deserters and Northern sympathizers. Camping along the banks of the Ecofina River, these Confederate turncoats assisted Union blockades, transferred Confederate soldiers and located targets for Northern aggressors. Several boats were scuttled in the area and still remain underwater in the Ecofina River.
During the Great Depression, this Ecofina River served a major food source for mullet fisherman. Mullet was salted, smoked, pickled and canned along the many fish camps set up along the banks of the Ecofina River. Much of the mullet was traded to inland Floridians for fresh vegetables and other hard to come by goods. Many of the old fish camps still successfully operate along this river today.
The Ecofina River State Park is nearly 4,400 acres of pristine river wilderness nestled in the north Florida panhandle. Complete with a large boat ramp, picnic pavilions and plenty of trails, Ecofina River State Park has it all from sea to shore.
One of the primary functions of this park is the boat ramp. Many travelers launch kayak and canoes, going north up the river and exploring some of Florida’s pine flatwoods, oak hammocks and palm forests that are exclusive to Florida’s Gulf Coast. Larger boats head north to the Gulf of Mexico, just a short 2.2 miles down this scenic river.
Water activities are not the only exciting thing to do at Ecofina River State Park. Over nine miles of scenic backwoods hiking trails wind through the park. Horse riders also can share the trails and explore some of Florida’s most beautiful areas.
Getting to Ecofina River State Park is easy. South of US 98 in Taylor County, Florida is County Road 14. Follow that to the end and you’ve arrived at paradise. For more information, Visit Ecofina River State Park’s Website.