HERNANDO COUNTY, Florida -- A new kayak launch area in Hernando County is making it easier for people to head out on the water.

  • New kayak launch at Linda Pedersen Park
  • Officials hope the launch encourages people to explore Nature Coast
  • Commissioners spent about $14,000 to build the launch

When Wendy Keller launched kayaks in the past, she said sometimes it was difficult.
"You want to get in on the dryer land and you have to kind of push yourself off so it's a little bit crazy when you try to kind of coordinate all of that," Keller said.
She's hoping to become an avid kayaker this year. So when she heard about the new launch area, she had to come try it out.
"I'm ready to try something different and hopefully it's easier for me to get in and out of the water," Keller said.

This new easy launch system is the last addition to a five mile paddling trail from Linda Pedersen Park to Bayport.  The county's been working on it for the last few years.
"This site where this launch is, is really good for beginner kayakers because it's calm and you can go into this canal area that's connected to Jenkins Creek and practice kayaking before you go out in the Gulf," Aquatic Services Manager Keith Kolasa said.

Besides just being easier to use, the county hopes that new launch area will give people exposure to parts of the Nature Coast they haven't explored before.

"It's just a good place for people to come out and experience kind of the old Florida area that aren't developed," Kolasa said.

County leaders also hope the paddling trail will draw some visitors away from the crowded Weeki Wachee River.

"That gets you out of the way of boaters. It's just a nice quiet place to come kayak," Kolasa said.

As for Keller, she said she's hooked and plans to come back to this area much more often.

"I love it so far. It's something I've never seen before," Keller said.

Commissioners say they spent about $14,000 to build the new launch area. It's free for the public to use.