Poker, prizes and history to introduce Blackwater Maritime Heritage Trail Project – Pensacola News Journal

The new Bagdad Mill Site Park is the former location of the Bagdad Land and Lumber company, a former site of major industry along the Blackwater River.(Photo: Courtesy of Kenyan Murrell)

The public will finally have a chance to experience the Blackwater Maritime Heritage Trail Project in an upcoming event. With a little luck, they may leave the day richer as well.

The first annual Blackwater Poker Run will serve as an unveiling of sorts for the long-awaited project, which mapped more than 25 miles of the Blackwater River while compiling the river’s archaeological, historical and geological attributes.

The event is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 28. Registration can be made online or on the day of the event.

More: Bands on the Blackwater brings music back to the river

“The Poker Run is going to be an introductory event for the Maritime Trail Project,” said Doug Lasater, president of Bagdad Waterfronts. “That allows us to introduce the maritime trail, the Blackwater River and the Bagdad Waterfronts and Blackwater Pyrates, the two organizations sponsoring the event.

“It also sets the stage for phase 2 of the trail and continuing events. This is the first year we’re doing it and we’ll continue doing it every year.”

Ryan Abrahamsen, the owner of Terrain360, a company that is helping map the Blackwater River, stands with his rig and boat on the river in an undated photo. (Photo: Courtesy of Kenyan Murrell)

The inaugural theme of the event will be a reenactment of Lieutenant Colonel William Beard’s 1862 raid of the Blackwater River during the Civil War.  

The raid devastated the infrastructure and economy of Santa Rosa County and its scars are still visible to this day.

“He was ordered to

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