Click on the BMHT logo for link to:
The project was conceived by the Bagdad Waterfronts Florida Partnership to promote education and preservation of the river's historical and environmental resources. BWFP has partnered with FPAN, the University of West Florida's Archaeology Department, to where students can actively use the Blackwater Basin as a hands-on classroom to further their skills.
The Blackwater Maritime Heritage Trail is a comprehensive virtual guide that highlights the ecological, recreational, and cultural points of interest in the waterways through the historic towns of Bagdad and Milton in Santa Rosa County, Florida.
(Above) BWFP members, Walt Schumann and Doug Lasater, introduced the Blackwater Maritime Heritage Trail project to the State of Florida Recreational Department highlighting the trail's recreational opportunities for Santa Rosa County and the state of Florida.
(Right) Blackwater Pyrate, Ken Ponsell, pinpoints locations where his team will collect data for the trail.
(Below) Blackwater Pyrate, Rick Pascal, prepares his drone for a launch from Walt Schumann's boat. Aerial photos were combined with surface data, historic records, and UWF field data to develop the Blackwater Maritime Heritage Trail website.
To date, the project has received approximately $30,000 in state grants to bring the first phase of the Blackwater Maritime Heritage Trail to completion. Members of both the Bagdad Waterfronts Florida Partnership and the Blackwater Pyrates have spent numerous hours on area waters gathering important data for the maritime trail.
(Right) The drone captured stunning aerials of the surrounding waterways such as this picture of Grassy Point on Blackwater Bay.
(Below) BWFP member, Randy Creel performs the "perfect catch" of Pascal's drone as it returns to the bow of Schumann's boat. A team of five were aboard collecting various data for the BMHT website.
Photo courtesy of © Rick Pascal
Drone images collected by Rick Pascal have been combined with surface data, historic records, and UWF field data to bring a unique experience to those who want to explore historic places of interest along the Blackwater River, Yellow River, Pond Creek, Blackwater Bay, or the Bayou Systems.
(Right) Blackwater Pyrate, Tom Scott reviews drone images collected by Rick Pascal for the Blackwater Maritime Heritage Trail.
UWF grad student Andrew Van Slyke was instrumental in compiling and producing the BMHT website which was published in 2020.
The trails encompass between 50 and 60 miles of the lower reach of Blackwater River where most of the historic and archaeological sites around Bagdad and Milton are located.
Click on the FPAN logo above to learn more about this exciting program offered by UWF.
(Above) UWF grad student, Andrew Van Slyke, gave a fascinating presentation titled Shipwrecks on the Blackwater in March of 2020 at the Historic Bagdad Village Museum.
The trails were mapped using a 360° river-view camera which allows the viewer to virtually interact with the Terrain 360 website. A Tutorial walks the viewer through key features of the website and provides tips for using the Virtual Trails tab. Click on the link provided here for the Blackwater Maritime Heritage Trail Tutorial:
Van Slyke received several stipends from BWFP for his work and has since received his Master's Degree from UWF in Underwater Archaeology and accepted a position as an Archaeologist at the National Park Service Submerged Resources Center.
(Below) Van Slyke was instrumental in compiling and producing the Blackwater Maritime Heritage Trail website which was published in 2020.
(Above) During his presentation at the Historic Bagdad Village Museum, Andrew navigated the BMHT website and answered questions regarding his underwater work on the Blackwater River.
On behalf of BWFP and FPAN, we hope you visit the Historic Village of Bagdad. From our shores, you are welcome to launch into your own adventure on the beautiful Blackwater River and use the Blackwater Maritime Heritage Trail to enrich your experience.