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The Myakka River is a diverse dark water river approximately 60 miles in length just off the gulf coast of southwest Florida. Due to it's pristine nature and scenic qualities, the Myakka was declared a ‘Wild and Scenic River’ by the Florida State Legislature in 1985. Only two rivers in the state are recognized and privileged with this level of special state protection.

The majority of the Myakka’s watershed is provided north of Sarasota County. The river becomes well defined as it enters the county, converging from numerous tributaries. Two large lakes and an extensive marsh system mark it’s travels into the Myakka River State Park. These lakes and marsh area together form an elongated basin that is famous for it’s diverse wildlife. Alligators and wading birds are present year-round. Many exotic species of waterfowl are found in the winter months. South of State Road 72 is a 7000 acre area which includes the lower lake that is known as the Wilderness Preserve. Below the lake the river courses through several miles through a narrow, serpentine channel bordered with sprawling branches of live oaks heavy with spanish moss. The oaks are complimented with the graceful arching trunks of Sable palm trees. This segment features miles of solitude and undisturbed banks. Approximately five miles south of the lower lake a privately-owned dam prevents access from the south during all but extremely high water level periods. Some areas in this section may be shallow enough during winter and spring to require fording and pushing of canoes and kayaks for short distances.

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