Paddling the Chassahowitzka

Paddlers make their way down the Chassahowitzka River in southwestern Citrus County Wednesday morning, Oct. 6. The shallow, spring-fed river flows into the Gulf of Mexico and is a popular destination for paddlers, wildlife enthusiasts, hunters and anglers alike. A public boat ramp at the Chassahowitzka River Campground affords visitors easy access to the river and a nearby campground accommodates campers staying in anything from tents to recreational vehicles. The nearby Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area, National Wildlife Refuge, River and Bay are often referred to simply as “The Chaz.” Seminole Indians were known to have been in the area during the Second Seminole War from 1835 to 1842. They gave the region the name Chassahowitzka, meaning “pumpkin hanging place.” The pumpkin referred to was a small climbing variety that is now rare and perhaps even extinct.