Lars Andersen: Guide to Florida’s Waters

Lars Andersen

Lars Andersen began writing about nature in the mid 1980s.  His first work, an audiobook titled “North Florida Adventure,” was an educational look at the history and locations of North Florida through the eyes of fictional characters.  Listeners can drive across North Florida and hear about sites as they pass by.

Since then, Andersen, a Florida native, has had a long career as an environmental writer and a nature tour guide.

Andersen began guiding tours in North Florida in the late 1980s.  He conducts river tours on about 60 different waterways, including coastal areas.

“We’ve had a lot of people have transformative experiences when they are out on the river,” Andersen said.  Sometimes after young people have been on a river tour with their parents, they choose nature-related fields of study when they go to college.
[pullquote class=”left”]”We’ve had a lot of people who have transformative experiences when they are out on the river.”[/pullquote]
The 55-year-old nature guide started a formal business about 15 years ago when he opened the Adventure Outpost in High Springs, Fla.

A 2009 National Geographic blurb mentioned Andersen’s tour, including some of his tips on how to approach manatees.

He views his nature-related writings as another means to educate the public about the state’s waterways, as well as some of the problems facing Florida’s water supply.

“Just being a writer really is a great avenue for continuing to learn about these things,” he said.  “I think through my capacity as a writer, I’m helping to contribute in getting this info out to the general public.”

Andersen has written guidebooks, historical accounts of waterways and articles for nature magazines.  Among his works are “Paynes Prairie: The Great Savannah: A History and Guide,” a comprehensive book detailing everything there is to know about the shallow basin in the middle of Florida.

In “Paynes Prairie”, Andersen recalls his childhood fascination with nature, and how his range expanded from his neighborhood. By his teens he had discovered the Prairie.

“I began exploring the Prairie every chance I got, often joined by friends and my brother. . . ,” he wrote.

When asked about his best experience as a nature guide, Andersen told the story of a family; a father, his son, and two grandchildren; he took out to Rainbow River.

“Three generations of people sharing this incredible experience,” Andersen said.

The day went without a hitch. They saw more wildlife than usual, and the family had a great time.

Andersen said that about a month later, the son called him to share some sad news. He told him the grandfather who had arranged the tour had died.

“That trip had been the grandfather’s idea,” Andersen said.  “He wanted to spend one last memorable day with his grandchildren and his son.”