Weekend Paddlers Pad Jackson County's Wallet

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Marianna- People from across the country showed up in Jackson County Thursday with boats and paddles, and not by accident.

Canoers and kayakers from across the state came for the 11th annual Florida Paddlers Rendezvous. The Apalachee Canoe and Kayak Club from Tallahassee hosted the event this year and chose Jackson County.

"There's more camping here to handle as many people as we have showing up. We have 165 people currently registered. And also, you have the rivers- there's about seven or eight locations here that make it very handy to be in this area" said John Munn, a member of the Apalachee Canoe and Kayak Club from Tallahassee.

For many Floridians, the trip was their first time to the Panhandle.
"To see the topography that we have here, the cliff's along the Apalachicola, the different creeks, rivers and streams that we have here- it's all new and different for them" said Apalachee Canoe and Kayak Club President, Gary Sisco.

Jackson County Tourist Development Council President, Paul Donofro Jr. told us the four day paddle party was exactly the type of event the TDC had been trying to attract.

"It fits right in with what the TDC is trying to do: encourage people to come to the area," Donofro said. "To spend dollars in our restaurants, to spend dollars purchasing gas and fuel, to spend dollars in our hotels and recreational areas. So, each dollar that's spent here turns over a number of times so it's a significant impact economically for the area."

And it appeared this trip would be the first of many trips some of the paddlers.

"We'll be back in two weeks" said Chris Pack of Pensacola. "Camping in the exact same spot" Pack's friend, Diane Rickman- Buckalew added. "We're going to be back in two weeks and spend another long weekend here...paddling again!"

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