Started in the fall of 1997, Paradise Paddlers began as a kayak & canoe club at Florida Bay Outfitters in Key Largo. Owners Frank & Monica Woll organized the first outing to Short Key in Barnes Sound. After paddling the remote creeks out of South Dade Marina the group of 30 landed on Short Key for a beach cleanup and a picnic. Exhausted from the paddling, slogging thru the mud and cleaning up a power-boater party-spot, they took the quick route back.
Paradise Paddlers became more than a paddling social group: the members have always been eager to participate in cleanups and help with events. The club has also been a way to stay informed about decisions that effect recreational access and opportunities around the state.
In 1999, Monica thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail. When she came back, she and Frank decided to work on a paddling trail in the Florida Keys. Progress was slow and met more resistence than acceptance within the community. They paddled from Miami to Key West in May 2001 to test it out. The state then began working on the Overseas Heritage Trail and soon a "partnership" was born!
In 2007, when Monica joined the staff of the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail, the club was renamed Paradise Paddlers & Pedalers to reflect the multiuse nature of the trail. It is also now a non-profit under the umbrella of the Greenways & Trails Foundation. Dues and donations are used to benefit the trail.
Monthly events include paddles and pedals along the Overseas Heritage Trail and also in the Everglades. Day trips, overnights and full moon paddles and pedals are offered. Annual events include the Key Largo boat parade, a picnic with other paddling clubs in South Florida and the 3-day Key Largo to Key West bike ride.
The club is a great way to meet new friends who you can share and enjoy your paddling and pedaling experiences with. To become a member it's simple! You will need to complete and submit a membership application and release of liability along with a donation of $10 per family per year. The donation goes towards the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail. Renewals are appreciated annually in January. Please make checks payable to OGT Foundation. You will receive monthly emails with trip information, volunteer opportunities and other statewide event info (festivals, races, etc.) Contributions to the club in the way of stories, trips, instruction or anything fun you have to offer are always appreciated - send details to email@example.com for posting. Club t-shirts are also available for $20 which includes postage. Non-members are welcome to join us for club activities but are asked to make a $5 donation to the Foundation and sign a waiver.