Ocklawaha-Rodman Dam Report
(Rodman Dam)

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Report By:  bobo152542    Date: 9/26/2009    Type: trip Report
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: None     Map & Directions: View

Rodman Dam dams up the Ocklawaha River (part of an abandoned project to create a cross-Florida canal). The trip is a 7.5 mile round trip with a halfway stop at an Indian burial mound.

My Report:

The Villages Canoe and Kayak Club
Trip Report For Ocklawaha River/Rodman Dam
Date: Sept. 22, 2009

Type of boat:
Canoe - 1
Kayak - SOT - 0
Kayak - SI - 13
Kayak - Tandem SOT - 0
- Tandem Si - 4
PBOs - 7

LOCATION: Rodman Dam

From Mulberry Rec Ctr, take Route 42 East, turn North on 441/27. Travel north 5.8 miles to the traffic light indicating Base Line Road, Route 35, and turn right onto Route 35. Continue 11 miles on Route 35 to traffic light at Route 40 and turn right. Go east 5 miles on Hwy 40 over high bridge. Turn left at light on to Route 314 and go north 18 miles. (this will take you to Salt Springs). At Hwy 19 turn left (north) for 12.7 miles to Rodman Dam Road. ( Just before high bridge turn left on Rodman Dam Road) Travel 3.6 miles to the parking lot on left just before dam. (This left turn is just as you come out of the woods and can see the dam and water.)

BRIEF RIVER DESCRIPTION: Sydney Lanier, a well-known writer of the 1800's, called the Ocklawaha the "sweetest water-lane in the world, a lane which runs more than a hundred and fifty miles of pure delight betwixt hedgerows of oaks and cypresses and palms and bays and magnolias and mosses and manifold vine-growths..." Unlike so many early descriptions of wild Florida, which are merely frustrating glimpses into long lost worlds, this passage could have been written today.
This trip will appeal to people with a variety of interests. As history buffs dream of Acuera warriors and the steamboats which once plied these waters, birders and animal lovers will be getting a lot of use out of their binoculars and cameras. And if you are a fan of Marjorie Rawlings, this trip will give you a chance to explore a remote section of Florida that remains much as it did when she stayed nearby at the Fiddia homestead. In addition to its scenic beauty, this stretch of the Ocklawaha also serves as an excellent 'living museum' of man's 12,000 year relationship with nature in Florida. As we make our way downstream, we work back in time - starting with our launch at the George Kirkpatrick (or now named Rodman) Dam, where we see man's most recent (and most destructive) attempt to 'tame' the river, we paddle past a couple of old steamboat landings before stopping at a large Indian burial mound.
This was a round trip on the river so we didn't have shuttle.

TRAVEL TIME: 1 Hr and 20 mins

TRIP LENGTH: 7 1/2 miles - approximately 3 hours

WEATHER CONDITIONS: Sunny, warm, and humid, but comfortable on the river. Because a fisherman had warned us of big wasp nests in the tree branches, we were not able to enjoy too much shade from trees along the banks; we all stayed pretty much in the middle of the river. By the way, we didn't see any wasp nests.

THE RIVER/TERRAIN/SCENERY/WILDLIFE: Fair. Limited human development. Many, many fallen trees on both river banks. Very few birds, one turtle, and a few alligators, mostly near the dam. It wasn't particularly attractive, but any day on the water is great.
Because there are many other more beautiful waters in the area, I would not recommend this trip as a monthly Club paddle.

GROUP ENJOYMENT AND DIFFICULTY: It was an easy paddle. One issue: Instead of paddling upstream in the Trip Plans estimate of 1/2 mile current, additional dam water was released and the current was between 2mph and 3mph.
We had a wonderful group of paddlers, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

OUTFITTER'S NAME: Aardvark's Florida Kayak Company, Crystal River, FL

OUTFITTER'S PERFORMANCE AND EQUIPMENT QUALITY AND CONDITION: As always, Matt and Sue Clemons performance and equipment were excellent. We're very fortunate to have such wonderful people working with us.



LUNCH STOP/RESTAURANT: We enjoyed our own picnic lunches watching alligators at the picnic tables in the Rodman Dam park area. The picnic tables, restrooms, and area were clean.


Get Map & Directions for this trip

Location Data:

Skill Level: Intermediate
Distance (miles): 59
Fees/Costs $: No parking fees

Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsFirst half is downstream; return is upstream. With high water levels, more water than normal was being released at the dam, increasing the effort required on the return half of the trip

Post Date: 9/27/2009

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