BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) – Paddling down Econfina Creek is a popular activity this time of the year, but the area that canoers and kayakers land on when it’s time to go home needs an upgrade.

Bay County commissioners are working to improve safety for kayakers, canoers and other water cruisers at Econfina.

Many of those who float down the creek get on or off at Highway 388, but the road has proven to be less than safe over the years.

“It’s all about safety and to create an area where they can be off the road when they get out of their kayaks or canoes at the end of the trips and load up and go home and have a safe afternoon,” Bay County Commissioner Bill Dozier said.

The county in partnership with Northwest Florida Water Management acquired a piece of property to the west of Econfina Creek to build a proper parking lot.

This will create an area where residents can be further from the road when they end their trip and head to their cars.

Dozier said the increasing popularity of the area and Pitt Springs just upstream made the project more pressing.

But the development is not designed to be an attraction on its own.

“We’re not trying to create a place for people to come and a magnet to draw people, it’s a place primarily for people when they get out of the creek they can have their cars parked there and head home,” Dozier said.

Dozier also emphasized the importance of preserving the environment and they will be careful not to disturb the wetlands.

“We’ve created an area down there to help protect Econfina Creek and the environment and it’s most important primarily for safety and we have been working on this for quite some time, we’re glad to see it come to where it is today,” Dozier said.

The project is currently going through the permitting process.

Dozier said he hopes the new and improved landing site can be fully open and operational by the spring of 2023.