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Nation’s premier paddling trail goes mobile

By Staff | Oct 12, 2011

The nation’s premier paddling trail now has a state-of-the-art smart-phone application users can download for free to more easily navigate Southwest Florida waters.

Lee County Parks & Recreation has announced the Calusa Blueway iPhone app, which helps canoeists, kayakers and Stand-Up Paddleboarders glide through Estero Bay, home to Florida’s first aquatic preserve and 50 miles of the 190-mile Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail. The app offers improved safety and convenience and is now available at no charge at the Apple app store.

A first-of-its-kind navigational aid, the Calusa Blueway application provides real-time GPS coordinates and navigation, interactive trail map with places of interest identified, boating tips and regulations, a brief history of Mound Key inhabitants and a key to the island’s flora, fauna and wildlife. Find more information and a link to download the app at www.LeeParks.org/BluewayApp.html.

Future plans include expanding the app to encompass the entire Calusa Blueway, including Pine Island Sound and the Caloosahatchee River as well as creating an application for other smart phones. The app was developed with a grant from the West Coast Inland Navigation District.

The Calusa Blueway app complements the existing destination-specific iPhone application offered by the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau. The custom-produced application pairs with the destination guidebook produced in conjunction with Lonely Planet. The VCB’s virtual guide features more than 100 points of interest such as attractions, shops, restaurants, activities and accommodations; direct contact information for each point of interest; Google maps with the points of interest plotted; videos; and a link to www.FortMyers-Sanibel.com.

The blueway app will be featured at the upcoming Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival, which runs Nov. 3-6. Selected as one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events for 2011, the festival this year has Canoe & Kayak magazine as its national sponsor and is offering guided trips, demonstrations, on-water instruction, SUP activities, speakers, a film festival, evening socials, a fishing tournament and races.

Most event sites are reachable by paddlecraft, bicycle or trolley. This year the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival is centrally located on the Sanibel Causeway and serves to highlight the offerings of the Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail. Festival details are available at www.CalusaBluewayPaddlingFestival.com, including a schedule of events. For trail information, visit www.CalusaBlueway.com. Find the festival on Facebook and Twitter. The festival is coordinated by Lee County Parks & Recreation.

The Calusa Blueway app is designed by Pearl, a Lee County-based, full-service communications firm with expertise in custom brand development and management, advertising and marketing promotions, public relations, website development and new technology applications to grow client business. Visit www.discoverpearl.com.