This paddling trail winds for 20 miles through salt marsh from Fort Island Trail Park south to Mason Creek and beyond to the Chassahowitzka River Campground in Homosassa. It is part of segment 7 of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail coordinated by the Florida Park Service’s Office of Greenways and Trails. The Nature Coast Canoe and Kayak Trail passes through the St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve and the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. Rails, wading birds, pelicans, gulls, terns, hawks and Bald Eagles can be seen along the way. While the trail is marked by numbered signs with crossed paddle symbols, download maps ahead of time and bring along a compass, GPS unit and all necessary provisions for a day on the water. As always, watch the weather and take appropriate precautions when boating (don’t forget your life jacket). Be aware that some channels are shared with larger, faster craft. Consider paddling this trail in 5-mile (3- to 4-hour) segments and leave a second vehicle at the take-out point. The first stretch from Fort Island Trail Park along the Crystal and Salt Rivers down to the John Brown Boat Ramp off CR 494/W. Ozello Trail is best for birding/wildlife viewing.