WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Spending time on the water just got a little easier for Walton County residents.

If you’re looking for a place to explore by kayak or canoe, Walton County just opened a new park that’s accessible to all.

Commissioners cut the ribbon Wednesday on the Choctawhatchee River Paddle Trail at Cowford Landing.

Walton County Environmental Coordinator Melinda Gates said the dream for this facility started 12 years ago.

“Some commissioners who learned about the Suwannee River Paddle Trail and that particular trail gave them that dream of what can we do on our river and so that’s what we have done. We have created an opportunity for a nice paddle trail down the Choctawhatchee as well,” Gates said.

The park facility is part of a much larger paddle trail, a partnership with Holmes County and Washington County that started in 2013.

They created what’s called a “Blue Way. “

“What it does is it designates a particular area for paddling and through that, we were able to establish certain sites that were great recreational opportunities so that we can improve areas like this,” Gates said. “So that people can access the paddle down the river and enjoy the natural environments that we have here in Walton County.”

The facility includes a handicapped-accessible kayak and canoe launch, two screened-in pavilions, picnic tables, and restrooms.

“From a tourism standpoint, this is incredible cause it’s just another story we can tell about what makes Walton County special,” Walton County Tourism Director Matt Algarin said. “I think when you have the natural resources that we have in Walton County you always find a way that you can shine a light on them.”

The project was funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

They hope the facility will drive ecotourism to the northern portion of the county.