Springs Fever: A Field & Recreation Guide to 500 Florida Springs.
2nd Edition by Joe Follman and Richard Buchanan

Part I.

Central Florida Panhandle

The springs in this region range widely in size and description.  In general, however, they are less developed, less frequently visited than others in the state, and offer many examples of pristine or near-pristine sites.  The spring searcher in this region will find many outstanding springs.  A few, including Vortex, Cypress, and Marianna/Jackson Blue, offer amenities such as food, bathrooms, and even lodging.  For most springs in the Panhandle, however, the recreational visitor must do some planning, paddling, walking, and/or even some exploring to be rewarded with the site of a spring flowing in its silent and infinite business.

The springs in this section are grouped by their general proximity to each other or in the order that a paddler would likely encounter them on a river.
 
 

Part I Contents

          Chipola River Springs
               Blue Hole Spring
                    An Essay on Florida Caverns State Park
               Baltzell (or Bosel or Bozell) Springs group
               Sandbag Spring
               Unamed Grotto/Wastewater Spring
               Unnamed Alcove Spring
               Unnamed Chipola Riverbank Springs
               Dykes Spring
               Unnamed Spring Cascade
               Delightful Grotto Spring and Cascade
               Unnamed Rock Overhang Seep
               Unnamed 2-Tree/3-Trailer Seep
               Unnamed Possible Chipola Spring Runs (5)
               Unnamed Chipola West Bank Seeps
               Unnamed Limestone Boulders Spring
               Possible Spring run Near Highway 280 Bridge

Chipola Tributary Springs
   Tanner Springs
   Webbville Springs
          Merritt's Mill Pond Springs
               Marianna/Jackson Blue Spring
                    An Essay on Marianna Blue Spring
               Shangri-La Spring
               Indian Washtub Spring
               Twin Caves Spring
               Hole-in-the-Rock Spring
               Gator Spring

          Spring Lake Springs Group
               Black Spring
               Double Spring
               Springboard Spring
               Mill Pond Spring
               Gadsen (or Gadsden) Spring

          Other Jackson County Springs
               South Sneads Springs Group (10)
               North Jackson County/Chipola River Springs Group (6)
               South Jackson County/Chipola River Springs Group (5-7)

          Gadsden County Springs
               Chattahoochee Spring
               Glen Julia Spring
               Indian Springs

          Econfina Creek Springs
               Walsingham Spring
               Unnamed Econfina Creek-bed Spring
               Glowing Spring
               Blue Springs Group (9)
               Below-Blue Spring Run
               Econfina Creek Canoe Livery Springs Group
               Williford Spring
               Williford Run Spring
               Sylvian (or Sullivan) Springs Group
               Unnamed Sylvian Tributary Spring
               Other Unnamed Spring Near Sylvian Springs Group
               Pitt Spring
               Fenced Spring 600'™ above Gainer
               Gainer Springs Group (4+)
               Emerald Spring
               McCormick Springs Group (4)
               Unnamed Econfina Springs Below Emerald (4+)
                    An Essay on St. Joseph State Park

          Holmes Creek Springs
               Other Holmes Creek Springs (approx. 26, includes Burnt Sock Landing Springs, Burn Out Spring, Mullet Spring, and unnamed
               springs)
               Beckton Spring
               Brunson Landing Springs
               Clemmons Springs
               Cypress Spring
               Galloway Spring
               Hightower Spring
               Jack Paul Springs
               Piney Woods Spring
               Shellcracker Springs

          Other Central Panhandle Springs
               Jackson Spring
               Morrison Spring
               Ponce de Leon Spring
               Vortex (Blue) Spring
               White Springs
                    An Essay on Torreya State Park
                    An Essay on the Apalachicola River Bluffs and Ravines
 
 

Chipola River Springs

Blue Hole Spring
Jackson County

Summary of Features
Scale'”2nd magnitude
Scenery'”good at spring; outstanding in surrounding state park
How Pristine?'”nicely developed swim area
Swimming'”good to very good
Protection'”excellent
Wildlife'”fair-good at spring; excellent in surrounding park
Crowds'”crowded on warm weekends
Access'”excellent
Facilities'”very good
Safety'”very good
Scuba'”no
Cost'”$3.25 per car

Directions
Located in Florida Caverns State Park 2.6 miles north of Marianna. From the center of town on U.S. 90, turn right onto Jefferson Street and proceed to the State Park entrance. Within the park, the spring is at the end of the paved road (about 2.5 miles) on the left and clearly sign-posted.

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
The spring lies in a varied geologic area of hills, hardwood forest, floodplain, exposed limestone, caverns, springs, and the Chipola River, which sinks and rises within the park'™s boundaries. Perhaps partially fed by the Chipola River, Blue Hole has two pools. The large pool has been made into a swimming area and is 100-140 feet by about 200 feet. The spring lies in the upstream end of the pool and is semicircular. According to Rosenau et al. (1977, p. 178), its depth is up to 26 feet. Fallen trees and milky blue water obscure the vent and water depth; the pool is populated with fish and turtles.

The lower end of the pool serves as a swim area and is about 150 feet in diameter with a beach on one side, a low dive platform on the other, and an arched wooden footbridge over the run which exits to the SE.  There are bathrooms and picnic and playground facilities.  The upper and lower ends of the pool combine to form a rough figure 8 shape.  To the NW of the spring pool, beyond the smaller footbridge, is a small pool that has no surface flow and is filled with logs and limbs.  It looks like a sinkhole and is likely connected to the large pool a few feet away. A t the downstream bridge, the pool narrows to about 30 feet wide and forms a canopied run that flows into Carter's Mill Branch, which in turn flows into the Chipola about 1.2 miles SE.  Trails behind the spring follow the run. Fish, otters, and snakes may be seen in the run.

Because the water in the spring is not quite clear, it may be that the flow is a combination of filtered water and water from the Chipola River, which flows underground nearby.

Use/Access

Local Springiana


An Essay on Florida Caverns State Park
Three miles north of Marianna, Florida Caverns State Park offers more outdoor recreational opportunities than any other place I know of in Florida.  What other spot do you know that has hiking, biking, camping, picnicking, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking on rapids, boating, fishing, birdwatching, golfing, spring hunting, and, of course, spelunking?

It is the caverns that give the state park its name.  Created during the Depression as a CCC project, the 1,300-acre park is honeycombed with caves large and small.  This un-Florida-like geological feature is the result of Florida'™s limestone base bumping the tail end of the uplift that becomes the Appalachians.  And while the caves here do not match Mammoth Cave or Carlsbad Caverns, they nonetheless have an impressive array of stalagmites, stalactites, columns, flowstones, and other formations created over thousands of years by the steady drip of water.

One large cave may be visited on guided tours.  The tour takes about 25 minutes, and the cavern is a constant temperature of 59 degrees.  Native Americans once used the caves for shelter and storage, and their history is told in the park'™s informative museum.  The rest of the caves are off limits or even gated to protect fragile formations and colonies of endangered gray bats.  These shy insect-eating creatures are easily disturbed, but warmly welcomed by campers for the tons of mosquitoes they eat.

Bats and insects are not the only residents in the park, which is a safe haven for alligators, deer, and beaver as well as home for a rich variety of birds, fish, and other wildlife.  Some have claimed sightings of the ivory-billed woodpecker in the area, although such are not confirmed and most believe this largest of all woodpeckers is now extinct.  But if the ivory-billed survived anywhere, it might be in these rich floodplains.  Gigantic beech, magnolia, sweet gum, and oak trees shade the lowland areas, and the understory flowers all year long with everything from columbine, native azalea, and sage to leafcups, bottlebrush, and the lovely January-blooming atamasco lily.

The river floodplain trail is the best way to see the many faces of the area.  In 30 minutes, you will go through natural tunnels, climb boulders, see virgin forest and some of the largest trees in the state, and be able to peek into several caves.  The horse trails may also be hiked and loop along spring runs and through deep forest. Riders must provide their own horses.

The Chipola River bisects the park from north to south and is joined within it by two spring runs.  In the middle of the park, the river dips below ground for more than 1,000 yards before reappearing.  A century ago, a channel was cut across the natural bridge so logs could be floated downstream.  The ditch is narrow, fast, obstructed, and not recommended for the inexperienced paddler.  Fed by rainwater and springs, the Chipola can be very clear and is an easy paddle upstream or down. Alligators bask in the few sunny spots, discouraging river swimming.

Even so, there is a great spring group about a mile upstream of the boat ramp.  Called Bozell, the main spring has a clear shallow run from the east and leads to a lovely spring pool that strongly invites a dip, even a skinny dip when no one is around. Three more springs line the banks just below and above Bozell, and the park is a popular pull-out for overnight and weekend canoers.

The official swimming area is yet another spring called Blue Hole.  The spring forms three pools, one of which has a nice beach and dive platform. The water in the main spring is a deep, milky blue and its 68 degrees are very refreshing on a hot summer day.  The Florida Caverns Golf Course is adjacent to the park and is a separate concession.  Park fees are $3.25 per car, and there are additional, if reasonable, charges for cavern tours, canoe rentals, camping, horseback riding, and golfing.  The cavern tours are very popular, so call ahead if you plan a weekend visit.  Development is increasing around the park, but once inside you can explore the glories of natural Florida in greater variety than just about anywhere.

Personal Impressions
Having done everything but golfing and horseback riding at the park, JF attests that it is one of the best overall recreation sites in north Florida.  Although hemmed in by development, the park has a very undeveloped character and the river is very primitive and pristine.

Nearby Springs

Other Nearby Natural Features
Three Rivers State Park
Falling Water State Park
Torreya State Park
Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve

Contact Information:
Florida Caverns State Park
3345 Caverns Road
Marianna, FL 32446
850-482-9598
 
 


Baltzell (or Bosel or Bozell) Springs Group
Jackson County

Summary of Features
Scale'”1st magnitude all total, each probably second magnitude
Scenery'”outstanding
How Pristine?'”completely unspoiled
Swimming'”fair to very good, excellent snorkeling
Protection'”unknown
Wildlife'”abundant
Crowds'”some on warm weekends
Access'”moderately difficult, only by water
Facilities'”none at the springs; very good in the adjoining state park
Safety'”watch for alligators if with pets or small children
Scuba'”yes
Cost'”$3.25 per carload for river access at Fla. Cavern State Park; canoe rental extra

Directions
Accessible via canoe put-in at Florida Caverns State Park. Located in Florida Caverns State Park 2.6 miles north of Marianna. From the center of town on U.S. 90, turn right onto Jefferson Street and proceed to the State Park. Once in the park, follow signs to river put-in. The springs are on the left and right shortly outside the park boundary about a mile upriver.

Canoes are kept at the put-in point on a rack for trips up the Chipola and can be rented at the entrance to the park. From the boat launch, head upstream about a mile to the Bosel (or Bozell) Springs group. Bosel consists of four springs. The authors have numbered them so that the one farthest upstream is Bosel #4. Bosel #2 is the easiest to find and the others can be located in relation to it. The run to Bosel #2 is on the right side of the river, as you canoe upstream. A few minutes before you get there, you will see a couple of park boundary signs up in the trees.

All four springs share a basic description of having very clear blue water (when the Chipola is not high), sudden drop-offs after shallow sandbars or runs, and quantities of small, nibbling minnows. They are about the same size'”basins of 20-30 feet in diameter'”and depth'”10-20 feet. Combined, the springs constitute a sizeable first-magnitude flow; Spring #2 is the largest and is a second-magnitude spring.

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Descriptions
Bosel #1 is the first spring in the group coming from the put-in at the state park downriver. It lies at the back of a run shaped like the number "7." At a spot where the river veers to the right, the mouth of Bosel #1'™s run is straight ahead, to the left (west) of a narrow strip of land/vegetated sandbar jutting out into the river. Follow the run, which is 1-3 feet deep, about 100 feet to the spring. The spring drops away to form an oval basin about 25 feet wide and 40 feet long. There is a east/west trending fissure along the bottom in the center of the pool, about 20 feet long and from 6-12 feet deep. The water in the pool is clear and blue. The bottom is mostly rock and sand and is easily stirred. There are small minnows in the water. In times of high water, this spring can be swampy.

Bosel #2'”Perhaps the largest and most attractive of the four springs, #2 has the longest run and is the spring referred to as "Bosel Spring" in Rosenau et al. (1977, p. 179). Look for the clear run entering the Chipola River from the right (east) side. The shallow, transparent run is about 30 feet wide, 1-3 feet deep, and 800 feet long, ending in the main spring. The spring drops off suddenly at the end of the shallow run and forms a semicircular pool 35 feet in diameter. Water flows from a large limestone opening along a fissure about 18 feet long. An opening at about 12 feet leads straight down to a cave. Water also appears to flow from the back of the fissure, forming a prominent slick on the surface. DeLoach reports the cave is small and silty (1997, p. 129). Water in the spring is clear and very blue in the sunlight. The bottom of the spring area is sandy and rocky, with many minnows. The run is covered in aquatic vegetation.

Bosel #3'”Located just upstream on the right (about 40 feet) from where Bosel #2's run joins the Chipola, is Bosel #3, surrounded by the less-clear waters of the river. It does not have a run, but opens directly into the river. The circular and cypress-lined basin is about 25 feet across and drops off from a sandbar that is covered in vegetation. Cavern walls are clearly evident. A very large sawed log (3 feet in diameter) is at the downstream edge of the spring underwater and can serve as a perch. The water is an intense clear blue and drops to a crevice about 15 feet down. The crevice is about 15 feet long and is perpendicular to the river.

Bosel #4 is upriver of Bosel #3 about 100 feet and on the opposite (left or west bank). Like #3, Bosel #4 also opens directly into the river. It is framed by a vegetated sandbar and large fallen logs, big enough to stand on and jump into the spring. On dates of visit in 1998-2001, there were two logs crossing the spring pool above the surface, and two below the surface. The spring has a strong vertical flow and boil from at least one limestone opening that appears to be 15-20 feet deep. Water flows out of the vent and over the vegetated sandbar into the adjacent Chipola River

Use/Access

Local Springiana
At the bridge near the boat launch in the state park is a manmade channel above the spot where the river went goes underground. The river emerges about 1/4 of a mile downstream. In the early 1900s, a "ditch" (channel) was built to float logs downstream. The channel looks almost natural now, and if it were not for the signs, you might think the river continued above ground, but in a narrower channel. This disappearing act is like that of other rivers such as the St. Marks, Santa Fe, and Aucilla. Canoes are not allowed in the "ditch"--paddling upstream is the only option.

Personal Impressions

Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features
Three Rivers State Park
Falling Water State Park
Torreya State Park
Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve

Contact Information:
Florida Caverns State Park
3345 Caverns Road
Marianna, FL 32446
850-482-9598
 
 

Sandbag Spring
Jackson County

Summary of Features
Scale'”2nd magnitude (estimate)
Scenery'”very good
How Pristine?'”framed into a swimming pool in a back yard
Swimming'”private
Protection'”surrounded by private property
Crowds'”none
Access'”private
Scuba'”private

Directions
Accessible via canoe put-in at boat ramp along the Chipola River off Jefferson Street about 1.5 miles north of Marianna. From the center of town on U.S. 90, turn right onto Jefferson Street and proceed to the bridge over the river. Put in and paddle downstream 0.4 miles to first house on the right. The house is a wooden one on stilts over the river; look carefully for the spring run on the downstream side. Canoe around the house through the narrow opening'”just downstream of the overhanging porch'”to the spring.

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
Hardened sandbags surround the spring on three sides. Water flows from a limestone opening/fissure that is about 6 feet wide, 18 feet long, and tapering as it goes down to a depth of 12 feet or more.  When first visited in the mid-1990s, the spring had a slide on the adjacent land that dumped directly into the area over the fissure/vent.  This slide was gone on subsequent visits in March 2004. The spring is about the size of a backyard pool'”about 12 feet wide and 30 feet long. Except when the Chipola River is high, the spring is clear. Small fish congregate over the vent. The run is about 125 feet long, 8 feet wide, and shallow at normal river levels.  The river was 3-4 feet above normal height when visited in 2004, and the whole spring/pool deck area and some surrounding land were flooded.  The water was yellow-brown on this date, and the limestone fissure was not visible..

Use/Access
The residents appeared to have built their house to discourage access to this spring, and constructed a sort of pool around it. Presumably, the run is a navigable waterway and therefore accessible, but at the same time one feels very much like a trespasser paddling into the middle of someone's "pool."  No one was at home when the authors visited the spring, much to the authors'™ relief.

Personal Impressions
As resentful as JF was that the surrounding landowners had made a personal pool out of the spring, in his secret heart of hearts he wishes he had one, too!

Nearby Springs

  • Blue Hole Spring
  • Merritt's Mill Pond Springs (Blue, Shangri-La, Twin Caves, Indian Washtub, Hole-in-the-Rock, Gator)
  • Baltzell (or Bosel or Bozell) Springs group
  • Unamed Grotto/Wastewater Spring
  • Unnamed Alcove Spring
  • Unnamed Chipola Riverbank Springs
  • Dykes Spring
  • Unnamed Spring Cascade
  • Delightful Grotto Spring and Cascade
  • Unnamed Rock Overhang Seep
  • Unnamed 2-Tree/3-Trailer Seep
  • Unnamed Possible Chipola Spring Runs (5)
  • Unnamed Chipola West Bank Seeps
  • Unnamed Limestone Boulders Spring
  • Possible Spring run Near Highway 280 BridgeSpring Lake Springs (Black, Double, Gadsen [or Gadsden], Millpond, Springboard)
  • Unnamed Chipola grotto and cave springs
  • Other Nearby Natural Features
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Marianna Caverns State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     


    Unnamed Grotto/Wastewater Spring
    Jackson County










    Summary of Features
    Scale'”4th magnitude, est.
    Scenery'”Poor
    How Pristine?'”Adjacent to industrial area and outflow water pipe, near highway, littered, foul-smelling
    Swimming'”No
    Protection'”Unknown
    Crowds'”None
    Access'”Very good, by boat only
    Facilities'”None
    Safety'”Fair
    Scuba'”No
    Cost'”Free

    Directions
    Accessible via boat.  From the center of Marianna on U.S. 90, go north on Jefferson Street (State Road 167'”the same turn as for Florida Cavern State Park) and proceed about 1.5 miles to the bridge over the Chipola River. Put in and go downstream about two miles.  The spring is 600 feet south of the point where U.S. 90 crosses the Chipola River, on the west side.  Look for a cascade of wastewater about 125 feet west of the river.  GPS coordinates:  N30.46.24; W85.12.958

    For maps, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following addresshttp://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Water flows from a couple of openings at the base of a limestone wall/bluff (about 8 feet high).  The small flows combine to form a tiny creek that runs about 125 feet to the Chipola River.  The water from the spring was clear.  Water from the spring is joined with water from an outflow pipe 40 feet to the south.  This outflow (perhaps 15 gallons per second?) was bright green on dates of visit (March 2004) and smelled like sewage.  Water cascaded from the outflow down the sloping land toward the river.

    Land rises perhaps another 10 feet to the west of the spring and outflow pipe to an active industrial area.  Garbage, broken glass, weeds, and muck surround the spring and outflow pipe.  Note:  on the second visit in late March 2004, there was no flow from the spring at the base of the limestone bluff.  There had been no appreciable rain in the intervening weeks.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The whole area around the spring and outflow pipe was smelly, polluted, and unappealing.  JF slipped and fell partially into the outflow water, and felt that he needed to rinse off in the river immediately.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     


    Unnamed Alcove Spring
    Jackson County









    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3th magnitude, est.
    Scenery'”Good-very good
    How Pristine?'”Near railroad bridge, otherwise natural
    Swimming'”No
    Protection'”Unknown
    Crowds'”None
    Access'”Very good, by boat only
    Facilities'”None
    Safety'”Very good
    Scuba'”No
    Cost'”Free

    Directions
    Accessible via boat.  From the center of Marianna on U.S. 90, go north on Jefferson Street (State Road 167'”the same turn as for Florida Cavern State Park) and proceed about 1.5 miles to the bridge over the Chipola River. Put in and go downstream about 3 miles.  The spring is 300 feet south of the point where the railroad bridge crosses the Chipola River, on the west side.  GPS coordinates:  N30.45.631; W85.13.027.

    For maps, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following addresshttp://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring consists of several flowpoint that form a small alcove on the west bank of the Chipola River.  The alcove is semicircular and about 20 feet in diameter.  The main flow is from a limestone opening in the bottom of the alcove on the south side.  The vent is about 1 foot in diameter, four feet deep, created a pool within the alcove, and had a visible boil.  There appears to be a smaller flowpoint 1-2 feet from the main vent and nearer to the bank.  Water flowed from the base on north side of the bank/alcove in 3-4 seeps.  The water from the spring was clear--noticeably clearer than the adjacent river water.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    An attractive little spring alcove.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     


    Unnamed Chipola Riverbank Springs
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”All have small flow
    Scenery'”Fine
    How Pristine?'”Very pristine
    Swimming'”No
    Protection'”Unknown
    Crowds'”None
    Access'”Very good, by boat only
    Facilities'”None
    Safety'”Very good
    Scuba'”No
    Cost'”Free

    Directions
    Accessible via small boat.  From the center of Marianna on U.S. 90, go north on Jefferson Street (State Road 167'”the same turn as for Florida Cavern State Park) and proceed about 1.5 miles to the bridge over the Chipola River.  Put in and go downstream about 3.25-3.5 miles.  Look for flowpoints at the base of limestone banks and boulders at the water's edge at the following coordinates:

    Spring A:  N30.45.583; W85.15.046
    Possible Spring B:  N30.45.583; W85.13.064
    Spring C:  N30.45.583; W.85.13.082
    Possible Spring D: N30.45.285; W85.12.744

    For maps, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    There are several similar small springs on the west bank of the Chipola River in an area stretching from shortly after the Unnamed Alcove Spring to Alamo Cave.  The springs are similar in composition'”small flows from openings in or between limestone rocks and boulders at the river's edge and forming the base of the riverbank.  Springflow was seen and confirmed at Springs A & C, and is suspected but not confirmed from flowpoints B and D.  The area has a lot of exposed limestone on the west bank, which rises up to 30 feet above the river.  Flow from these springs is clear, and the flow points are inundated when the river is high. Just below these confirmed and possible springs is Alamo Cavern, which is at the river's edge and which has a series of passages include a main passagway that can be entered at a distance of more than 200 feet to the west.

    Use/Access
    There is no apparent use of any of these small springs, which are all in a pristine condition.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     


    Dykes Spring
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude (est)
    Scenery'”Excellent
    How Pristine?'”Heavy algae growth, otherwise very natural
    Swimming'”Fine, excellent snorkeling
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”Small-none
    Access'”Very good, by boat only
    Facilities'”None
    Safety'”Very good
    Scuba'”Unknown
    Cost'”Free

    Directions
    Accessible via small boat.  From the center of Marianna on U.S. 90, go north on Jefferson Street (State Road 167'”the same turn as for Florida Cavern State Park) and proceed about 1.5 miles to the bridge over the Chipola River. Put in and go downstream about 6 miles.  The mouth of the clear-water spring run is easy to spot on the east side of the river.  Ascend run 75 yards to springhead.  GPS coordinates:  N30.44.764; W85.12.908

    For maps, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Dykes Spring forms a roughly circular pool that was about 80 feet in diameter on date of visit in March 2004.  Water flows from a large limestone fissure that is about 8 feet wide and 40-50 feet long.  There is a large (6-8 feet in diameter) boil on the surface at the back end of the fissure, which was also wider than the rest of the fissure and rounded.  The depth of the fissure was not measured but appeared to be at least 20 feet.  Several types of fish were observed in the pool, ranging in size from less than an inch to 15 inches long.  Water in the pool was clear and pale/milky blue.  The bottom was mostly sandy except at the edges of the limestone fissure, and there were algae on the bottom and on the submerged trees.  Movement in the spring pool raised clouds of silt.

    There is a backwater swamp/wetland area behind the spring; it flows into the top of the spring basin in times of high water.  The spring creates a serpentine run that is 20-30 feet wide and 75 yards long.  The depth in the run was 5-6 feet on date of visit in early March 2004, but only about 3 feet 3 weeks later (there had been no measureable rain in the interim).  There is heavy algae growth in the spring, in vivid green mats and strings/filaments.  The clear water of the spring and its run present a contrast to the darker water in the river.  Banks rose up from the spring from 3-10 feet in an area of hardwood bottomland forest.  Dried algae on the banks extending 3-5 feet above the spring suggested that the water had recently been much higher.

    Use/Access
    A sign at the spring says camping is not allowed.  There is a rope swing at the pool.  A dirt road looped by the spring from the east.

    Personal Impressions

    Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     



    Unnamed Spring Cascade
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”1-2 gallons per second, estimated
    Scenery'”Fair
    How Pristine?'”Between two dwellings
    Swimming'”No
    Protection'”Unknown
    Crowds'”None
    Access'”Only to where spring run enters river--good, by boat only
    Facilities'”None
    Safety'”Good
    Scuba'”No
    Cost'”Free

    Directions
    Accessible via small boat.  From the center of Marianna on U.S. 90, go north on Jefferson Street (State Road 167'”the same turn as for Florida Cavern State Park) and proceed about 1.5 miles to the bridge over the Chipola River. Put in and go downstream about 6.5 miles.  The spring is on the west bank between two homes--one of which had Confederate battle flag hanging over the river.  Look and listen for a small cascade as the spring run empties into the river.  This spring is only about 100 feet upstream of another spring that cascades into the river from the east side of the river.  GPS coordinates of mouth of spring run on the wast bank of the Chipola River:  N30.44.708; W85.12.903.

    For maps, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is on private property and was not visited.  It appeared to be at least 100 feet from the river up a bank that was more than 20 feet high.  Water tumbles down this bank between two houses and into the river.  The flow creates a small creek and was perhaps 2 gallons per second.

    Use/Access
    There is no apparent use of the spring.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     


    Delightful Grotto Spring and Cascade
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”4th magnitude, estimated
    Scenery'”Outstanding
    How Pristine?'”Very pristine
    Swimming'”No
    Protection'”Unknown
    Crowds'”None
    Access'”Good, by canoe/kayak/small boat only, then on foot up the run
    Facilities'”None
    Safety'”Good
    Scuba'”No
    Cost'”Free

    Directions
    Accessible via small boat.  From the center of Marianna on U.S. 90, go north on Jefferson Street (State Road 167'”the same turn as for Florida Cavern State Park) and proceed about 1.5 miles to the bridge over the Chipola River. Put in and go downstream about 6.5 miles.  The spring is on the east bank, across the river from several homes.  Look and listen for a small cascade as the spring run empties into the river.  Another cue for finding the spring is to look for a modern house (just a few hundred feet upstream on the east bank of the spring) that also has a spring cascade that tumbles down the hillside/bank into the river.  GPS coordinates of mouth of spring run on the east bank of the chipola River:  N30.44.607; W85.12.601.  GPS coordinates of two main flow points:  #1 (main)--N.30.44.640; W85.12.582,  #2--N30.44.640; W85.12.600.

    For maps, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The primary spring flow is from the base of a limestone bluff set about 200 feet from the river.  Water tumbles very audibly out at the estimated rate of 3-5 gallons per second.  Water can be seen moving toward the flow point through a hole in the limestone bluff a few feet above the primary flow point.  Lesser flows were observed a few feet to the north, and there is a smaller, secondary spring run about 35 feet southwest of the main vent.  The flows combine to form a shallow (2 inches deep and 3-5 feet wide) run that goes over bare limestone, pebbles, and sand down to the river.  The run tumbles/cascades into the river down the bank, (which was two-three feet above the river surface on date of visit in March 2004).  The water was clear and had no odor.

    In the upper part of the creek run, there were several round indentations (about 1' deep and 8' across) in the limestone bottom.  Some of the exposed limestone in the run was a very attractive light green.  Closer inspection reveals the presence of algae on this limestone, but it initially looked more like green rock than rock with algae on it.

    Use/Access
    There is no apparent use of the spring, which is in a pristine condition except for the algae.  JF was startled by a snake that rustled out of his path along the spring run.

    Personal Impressions
    The bluff, spring, run, and cascade altogether are very attractive and appealing.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     


    Unnamed Rock Overhang Seep
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”1 gallon per minute, estimated
    Scenery'”Very good
    How Pristine?'”Very pristine
    Swimming'”No
    Protection'”Unknown
    Crowds'”None
    Access'”Good, by boat only, then on foot up/over the bank
    Facilities'”None
    Safety'”Good
    Scuba'”No
    Cost'”Free

    Directions
    Accessible via small boat.  From the center of Marianna on U.S. 90, go north on Jefferson Street (State Road 167'”the same turn as for Florida Cavern State Park) and proceed about 1.5 miles to the bridge over the Chipola River. Put in and go downstream about 6.5 miles.  The spring is on the east bank, just below the two spring runs that cascade/tumble into the river.  Look for a limestone shelf that overhangs the river; the spring is 10 feet behind it.  GPS coordinates: N30.44.503; W85.12.609.

    For maps, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is set in a small depression (about 8 feet in diameter and 3 feet deep) that lies just behind exposed limestone on the east bank of the Chipola River.  Water trickles of seep from the base of this depression on the east side.  When the flow is sufficient, it travels out of the depression and into the river at the base of an overhanging limeston ledge (the ledge is 4-5 feet across).  Flow was visible in the depression on both dates of visit in March 2004, but it was only observed flowing directly into the river on the early March date, after a period of normal rainfall.  When the weather is drier, the flow seeps back into the ground in the depression.

    Use/Access
    There is no apparent use of the spring, which is in a pristine condition.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     


    Unnamed 2-Tree/3-Trailer Seep
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”<1 gallon per minute, estimated
    Scenery'”Very good
    How Pristine?'”Very pristine
    Swimming'”No
    Protection'”Unknown
    Crowds'”None
    Access'”Good, by boat only
    Facilities'”None
    Safety'”Good
    Scuba'”No
    Cost'”Free

    Directions
    Accessible via small boat.  From the center of Marianna on U.S. 90, go north on Jefferson Street (State Road 167'”the same turn as for Florida Cavern State Park) and proceed about 1.5 miles to the bridge over the Chipola River. Put in and go downstream about 6.75 miles.  The spring is on the east bank, a little below the two spring runs that cascade/tumble into the river.  The spring is at the base/roots of two large trees and directly across from the middle of three mobile home that are on the opposite (west) bank.  GPS coordinates: N30.44.503; W85.12.701.

    For maps, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The seep is at the edge of the river below two large trees.  On date of visit, water trickled out of the bank at the river's edge over a small patch (about 1 foot in diameter) of whitish limestone and directly into the river.

    Use/Access
    There is no apparent use of the spring, which is in a pristine condition.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     


    Unnamed Possible Chipola Spring Runs (5)
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”Dry to 3rd magnitude, est.
    Scenery'”Very good to excellent
    How Pristine?'”Mostly undisturbed, near developed land
    Swimming'”No
    Protection'”Unknown
    Crowds'”None
    Access'”Very good, by boat only
    Facilities'”None
    Safety'”Very good
    Scuba'”No
    Cost'”Free

    Directions
    Accessible via small boat.  From the center of Marianna on U.S. 90, go north on Jefferson Street (State Road 167'”the same turn as for Florida Cavern State Park) and proceed about 1.5 miles to the bridge over the Chipola River.  Put in and go downstream about 7 miles.  Look for openings in the west bank of the Chipola River over the course of about 1/2 mile at the following GPS coordinates:

    #1--N30.44.427; W85.12.778
    #2--N30.44.353; W85.12.822
    #3--N30.44.353; W85.12.840
    #4--N30.44.383; W85.12.822
    #5--N30.44.383; W85.12.804

    For maps, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The authors passed and/or partially explored several sites where water was flowing into the river from creeks on the west side.  None had a large flow, but all were flowing in early March 2004.  When revisited in late March 2004, one run was dry and two others only had a tricke of flow.  Some were explored up to 400 feet, but no spring vents were seen and so the authors do not know the source of the flows.  It appears that the flow regulary dry up before reaching the river or perhaps do not flow at all at some times, so the flow may or may not be from springs.  Some details follow.

    #1  A small opening in the west bank--perhaps 18" wide--with only a trickle of water.  This run wound westward from the river and was not explored.  There is a large cypress stump at the opening in the riverbank, and there was a sandbar jutting about 10 feet into the river.

    #2  Another small opening in the west bank, which was dry on date of visit in late March 2004.

    #3  This run/creek enters the Chipola from the west side, carving an opening in the 6-foot bank.  At its mouth, the run was 2-3 feet wide and a couple of inches deep and was clear and odorless in early March 2004.  The flow was reduced to a trickle 3 weeks later.  The authors walked up the run a distance of about 100 feet to where the run exited from a thicket, and decided not to follow it any further.

    #4  This run/creek also enters the Chipola from the west side, creating a run that is about 2 feet side and 3 inches deep.  The run widens near the river, and was about 4 feet wide and 1 foot deep at its mouth in early March 2004, and about half those dimensions 3 weeks later.  JF walked up/alongside the run for a distance of about 400 feet, to a point where it passes beneath an old, small, collapsed railroad trestle.  Just above the trestle is a small beaver dam, and the run continued on up out of sight.  Water was somewhat backed up by the lodge, and the run widened and deepened due to the backup caused by the dam.  The flow point was not found.  The land adjacent to/downriver from this run to the south was cleared for several acres and had a picnic shelter/house/cook shack on it with a no trespass sign.

    #5  This run/creek mouth was a few minutes'™ paddle below #4 and also on the west bank.  The mouth of the run was about 10 feet wide, and the run was wide and deep enough to ascend it in a canoe for a distance of about 300 feet in early March 2004, and only about half that far 3 weeks later.  As with run #4, the authors could not go beyond a railroad trestle or determine how far back the spring originated.  This site had no sign of development other than the decaying railroad line.  This creek/run was not photographed.

    Use/Access
    There is no apparent use of any of these creeks/runs.  The old railroad line is in a very decayed and decrepit condition'”the ties and trestle were completely collapsed, leaving only the rails spanning the gap (about 10 feet) over run #4.  Nearby, the authors saw a well-fed alligator basking on the east bank.  The '˜gator was about 5 feet long, and allowed the authors'™ to approach to within about 50 feet before retreating into the river.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     


    Unnamed Chipola West Bank Seeps (2)
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”1 gallon per minute, est.
    Scenery'”Very good
    How Pristine?'”Undisturbed
    Swimming'”No
    Protection'”Unknown
    Crowds'”None
    Access'”Very good, by boat only
    Facilities'”None
    Safety'”Very good
    Scuba'”No
    Cost'”Free

    Directions
    Accessible via small boat.  From the center of Marianna on U.S. 90, go north on Jefferson Street (State Road 167'”the same turn as for Florida Cavern State Park) and proceed about 1.5 miles to the bridge over the Chipola River.  Put in and go downstream 7.5-8 miles.  Look for erosions in the west bank of the Chipola River at the following GPS coordinates:

    #1--N30.43.930; W85.12.716
    #2--N30.44.923; W85.12.669

    For maps, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The two seeps are similar in size, flow, and appearance.  Each flows from the base of an eroded slice in the west bank of the Chipola River.  The banks at these two points were 5-8 feet high on dates of visit in March 2004.  Each is a seep or perhaps the beginning of a steephead and is eroding through sand and clay.  Further descriptions follow.

    #1  The smaller of the two eroded areas, the bank at this seep was about 5 feet high.  The eroded area was widest at the edge of the river, and narrowed as it went back perhaps 6 feet.  Water tricked from the base of the erosion and into the river.  A lot of gray clay was at the surface on the south side of the steep/eroded area.  The area behind this flowpoint was forested.

    #5  The larger of the two seeps/steeps/eroded areas, this one flowed from the base of an alcove/grotto on the west bank of the river.  The grotto is about 8 feet high, and appeared to be of more recent origin than other springs, or to have recently been enlarged due to erosion/collapse of the dirt above it.  Water flowed about 10 feet from the base of the grotto to the river.  Land was partially cleared behind this spring.

    Use/Access
    No apparent use.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     


    Unnamed Limestone Boulders Spring
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd or 4th magnitude, est.
    Scenery'”Fine
    How Pristine?'”Undisturbed, just below farm fields, near Interstate 10
    Swimming'”No
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”None
    Access'”Very good, by boat only
    Facilities'”None
    Safety'”Very good
    Scuba'”No
    Cost'”Free

    Directions
    Accessible via boat.  From Intersection of Interstate 10 and State Road 71, go south about ½ mile and turn right/west onto State Road 280 (look for sign for boat launch).  Drive about 1 mile to boat launch on SW side of the road/bridge.  Put in and go upstream about 0.3 miles.  The spring enters the river on the east side, adjacent to several large flat boulders in the river near the mouth of the short spring run.  GPS coordinates:  N30.43.287; W85.11.904

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring flows from various points, depending on levels of rain and the Chipola River.  The primary flow point is from the bottom of a depression/collapse located about 60 feet east of the river.  This pit, which is criss-crossed with tree roots, has the approximate dimensions of 12 feet across and 6 feet deep (the water in the hole/pit is 1-2 feet deep).  Water flows from the bottom through several small opening or sand boils.  The water is clear and odorless, and there were minnows in the depression/pit.  Water from these opening flows/seeps back under ground and reappears or flows outward again at other openings 15-35 feet away/to the west.  In early March 2004, water was visible flowing either (i.e., springflow) or downward (i.e., beneath the surface) at three other points, including two smaller holes depresions.  In early March, this second flow point was 20 feet away in a much smaller pit (just a few feet across and about two feet deep).  This flow did not escape the small depression, but was recaptured and flowed underground again and reappeared at 2-3 other small flow points about 15 feet away.  The 3rd set of vents create slight flows and raised sand boils and form a short run (15 feet long, 5 feet wide, and about 8 inches deep--) that opens directly into the Chipola River.  The spring water is clear and odorless.  When visited again under somewhat drier conditions, the secondary flowpoints were dry, and all the water from the main depression appeared to be flowing from one spot about 35 feet to the west and 20 feet from the river.  This flow was from a limestone opening under a rock and created a small creek that flowed into the river amid a series of boulders that line the eastern bank.

    Use/Access
    There is no apparent use of this spring, which is very near I-10 and has a small line of trees separating it from upland farm fields.

    Personal Impressions
    A beautiful little spring complex, this site is well worth a visit and the short upriver paddle against the moderately strong current of the Chipola River.  JF and RB nearly lost their canoe at this spot.  They did not tie the canoe, and just happened to look back to see it starting to float downriver.  JF had to race through the tangle of brush to a small rocky promontory 50 feet downriver and leap into the water after it!

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     

    Possible Spring Run Near Highway 280 Bridge
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd or 4th magnitude, est.
    Scenery'”Fine
    How Pristine?'”Undisturbed, just below farm fields, near Interstate 10 and Highway 280
    Swimming'”No
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”None
    Access'”Very good, by boat only
    Facilities'”None
    Safety'”Good
    Scuba'”No
    Cost'”Free

    Directions
    Accessible via boat.  From Intersection of Interstate 10 and State Road 71, go south about ½ mile and turn right/west onto State Road 280 (look for sign for boat launch).  Drive about 1 mile to boat launch on SW side of the road/bridge.  Put in and go upstream about 300 feet and look for the mouth of the run on the east side.  GPS coordinates:  N30.43.301; W85.11.897

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Description
    This spring run or creek empties into the Chipola River from the east side.  JF walked up the run a distance of approximately 500 feet but did not reach a springhead.  The creek/run is 2-3 feet wide and 1-2" deep and flows through a floodplain area.  The water was noticeably warmer than the Chipola River on date of visit in March 2004. (Note:  the temperature of water from springs near this location on the same date was cooler than the river water, but the head of this spring may be some distance from river if it is from a spring at all.)  Minnow were observed in the creek/run.

    Use/Access
    There is no apparent use of this creek/run, which flows through a low and muddy area..

    Personal Impressions
    Run may or may not be from a spring, and JF could not determine how far back the run went.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     


    Chipola Tributary Springs

    Tanner Springs
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd magnitude, estimated
    Scenery'”fine
    How Pristine?'”surrounded by farmland, runoff into springhead, algae around some flowpoints, otherwise pristine
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”on private land
    Facilities'”none

    Directions
    From U.S. 90 in Marianna, go north on State Road 73 for approximately 4.7 miles.  If coming from the north, proceed 1.4 miles south from Union Road.  Turn east onto dirt/farm road.  Follow around 90-degree turn to the left/north (field will be on right and look for tall pecan trees lining road along a 90-degree turn to the right.  The spring is below, on the right, along this second sweeping turn.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Tanner is a series of flow points consisting of at least 4 areas, corresponding to the rough map.  The entire spring area is probably 1-2 acres in size with numerous flowpoints and seeps from beneath trees, directly through limestone openings/rocks, and within the spring run.  The runs are mostly sandy/muddy near the springs, and grassy and overgrown once they converge downstream.  The water in all the springs is clear and odorless.

    Spring Area #1 appears to have the greatest volume of flow; water exits through several opening in large limestone boulders set into the base of a bank 25 feet below the road.  The flow is audible as it exits out of and over the rocks.  Water forms a shallow pool area and creek in an area of exposed limestone, cypress, birch, and sweetgum trees.  When visited in spring 2003, the bank above this spring was lush with lilies.

    Spring Area #2 is about 150 feet to the NNE.  Water flows from the base of a 15' bank in a swampy/muddy area, going south, and joining the flow from Spring Area #1.  Runoff enters the springhead area from the road above and the weedy/scrubby land beyond the road.

    Spring Area #3 is approximately 200-250 feet to the east of Area #2.  Water flows from limestone openings at the base of/under the roots of a large hardwood tree growing along the 15' bank.  It probably has the second greatest flow after Spring Area #1 and flows south about 150 feet where it is joined by the smaller fun from Spring Area #4.

    Spring Area #4, unlike the other springs, consists of seeps, boils, and small flows that are in the bottomland area and not from the base of the bank/bluff.  This spring area clearly has a different springshed, as its flow areas are heavily covered in algae and there is much more plant growth in its pool and short run.  This suggestst has higher levels of nitrate, phosphorus, and/or other organic or inorganic elements.

    The combined runs of Areas 1-2 join those of 3-4 at some point where below 3-4 meet, and the spring run appears to head SE.  It forms the head of the south fork of Baker Creek, which subsequently flows into the Chipola River.

    Use/Access
    There appears to be no utilization of the springs.  The land above the springs is cultivated.  Blue and red blazes mark many of the trees around the spring area, suggesting it is a boundary between two landowners.  The runoff directly into the spring area,  the algae blooms around Spring Area #4, and the cultivation of land immediately adjacent to the springs are concerns.

    Personal Impressions
    Tanner is a beautiful spring group, and Spring Area #1 is exceptional in its setting of huge boulders.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
    Apalachicola National Forest
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     

    Webbville Springs
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd magnitude, est.
    Scenery'”fine
    How Pristine?'”adjacent to tree farm, ditch/runoff into springhead, otherwise very pristine
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”on private land
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”unknown

    Directions
    From U.S. 90 in Marianna, go north on State Highway 73 for approximately 6.1 miles.  Turn right onto dirt/clay road.  Continue approximately 300 feet until road makes 90-degree turn to left.  Look for dirt/grass road on right across fence at edge of pine tree farm.  Walk on dirt road about 0.3 mile to springheads A-C on right adjacent to the road.  Flow area A is at coordinates 30.50.358N/85.20.080W, and flow area E is in the woods/swampy area at 30.50.361N/85.20.050W.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The main spring flows are at the base of a 10-12 foot bank below the dirt road.  Water issues from several points in five primary areas corresponding to the rough map.  The three main flows (A-C) are within 150 feet of each other.  Each is a series of seeps or small flows of clear and odorless water.  The three primary flows join within 150 feet and form a creek that is approximately 3-6 inches deep and 4-6 feet wide.  The bottom of the creek is sandy, and the spring run flows through an area of dense floodplain forest.  A small amount of algae was growing in spots, and minnows, frogs, and snails were seen in the run.  There are ferns along the banks, and deer tracks and other animal signs were visible.  The run is joined by the combined output of at least two additional flows (D and E) from the NE.  These two flow points are smaller and in an area that is at the edge of forest and swamp to the east of flowpoints A-C.  The total combined flow is estimated to be third magnitude.  The run forms the north fork of Baker Creek, which subsequently flows into the Chipola River.  There may be additional flows that the authors did not locate.  A ditch empties into springhead B, and there was some trash around the springs--bottles, cans, bits of fencing and metal.

    Use/Access
    No public access.  The dirt/grass road is fenced off.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
    Apalachicola National Forest
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     

    Merritt's Mill Pond Springs Group

    Jackson (or Marianna) Blue Spring
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”1st magnitude
    Scenery'”very good to fine
    How Pristine?'”bordered and developed into swimming/recreation area, heavy concentrations of nitrate in water
    Swimming'”outstanding
    Protection'”very good
    Wildlife'”fair to good, populations declining/disappearing
    Crowds'”crowded on warm weekends
    Access'”excellent, but only Memorial Day to Labor Day
    Facilities'”fine
    Safety'”excellent
    Scuba'”yes, with special permission and for an additional fee
    Cost'”$1.50 for entrance and swimming, more to rent canoes

    Directions
    From Highway 90 in Marianna, go north on State Road 71. A Wal-Mart is on the corner at right. (Note that the southern part of 71 that leads to I-10 is down the road to the west.) After about a mile, past the farm equipment building, Blue Spring Road forks off to the right. Go about 3 miles and you will see the sign to Blue Spring Park on the right.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The circular spring basin lies in a depression and is approximately 250 feet in diameter.  Water issues from a large (8 feet high by 30 feet wide) and accessible cave opening.  There is an underwater cavern at the spring that extends several thousand feet.  The water forms the 4.4-mile-long Merritt's Mill Pond and is dotted by several springs (see below).  The southern end of the pond is dammed up at U.S. 90 and can be seen while driving through Marianna. A fence divides the spring area from the pond and prevents boat access into the spring basin.  The water is very clear and deep blue over the cave entrance, which is directly beneath the dive platform and diving board about 15 feet deep.  Much of the bottom in the spring pool is sandy, but there are also areas of elodea/hydrilla intrusion in the center of the pool and near the fence that separates the pool from the "Pond."  Swimming and diving in the spring can cloud the water.

    The beach area above the spring is sandy, but does not extend down to the water and has a wooden barrier (railroad ties) to help keep sand from eroding into the spring basin.

    Land in the spring's watershed, which extends into Alabama, is about 50/50 agriculture and forest.  Water tests indicate that Jackson Blue Spring has the second highest concentration of nitrates in its water of any first magnitude spring in Florida--3 mg/liter.  Tests indicate that half the nitrate is absorbed or sinks to the bottom in the 4-mile pond.  In addition, the spring areas has the most strongly inorganic isotype ration of any measured spring.  On more recent visits, (2000-2003), the water more more geenish than blue, and there were higher concentrations of algae on the bottom.  It is estimated that water flowing out of the main vent has flowed underground for approximately 17 years, meaning that efforts to reduce nitrate intrusions in the springshead will not have any impact for 17 years.

    The spring is one of the few sites that is home to the Georgia blind salamander; Shangri-La Spring (100 yards downstream is another.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana Personal Impressions
    As noted in the essay, this spring is JF'™s favorite place for swimming in the Florida Big Bend.  The spring is heavily and increasingly polluted, however, and measures to reduce the proliferation of exotic plants have had deadly side effects on native fauna.  To save the spring from further degredation and the possibility that it would eventually have to be closed to swimming and fishing, the state and county must work together to promote the adoption of best management practices by nearby farms and a golf course, and clean-up efforts in sinkholes that feed the spring.  The local community is beginning to take notice that its longtime swimming hole is in trouble and to take efforts to protect it.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve

    An Essay on Marianna Blue Spring
    Note:  this essay was written when the spring still had its dive tower.

    Where is the best place to swim in the  Big Bend?  Grayton?  Destin?  Wakulla Springs?  St. Andrews?  St. George?  Nope.  For me, none of these places compares to Blue Springs Park in Marianna.  Located an hour north of Panama City and 75 minutes west of Tallahassee, Marianna Blue Springs has it all, plus non-stop country music as an added bonus.

    The springs have been a swimmin' hole for generations of Jackson Countians.  Originally, the spring flows formed a narrow run that joined the Chipola River just below where U.S. 90 now runs through Marianna.  Years ago, the run was dammed, creating Merritt'™s Mill Pond which is 4.4 miles long and about 200 yards across.  The pond is popular with anglers, and there are fish camps and a campground on the west bank.

    But it is the swimming that places the spring a cut above. A large circular pool 150 feet across lies in a natural depression and forms the headwaters.  A rock and sandbag retaining wall frames the pool and prevents erosion.  The water averages a few feet deep and is absolutely transparent. Its source is a first-magnitude spring that flows powerfully from a large-mouth cave directly under the diving platform.  Water over the cave is a very deep and enticing blue.

    Scuba is not allowed without special permission, but determined snorkelers can explore the cave entrance and glimpse a cold, dark, underwater world.  Getting into the cave takes a bit of effort.  One must fight the strong outflow from the cave, be able to hold a breath for a minute or so, and time the dive so as not to be squashed by cannonballers from the platform above.  A minivan could easily drive into the cave entrance, which is populated by large fish that scurry into the cave recesses when approached.

    Watching from the platform, I marveled at a boy who spent three minutes in the cave.  Coming up, he explained there was an air pocket stocked by skin-divers with air-filled milk jugs.  Sticking one's head into the bucket-sized pocket of stale air is much more unnerving than the cave itself. Light and sound are distorted in the small space, and you get less air with each breath.

    The swim area has free tubes, large and small slides, and a floating island in the middle.  As is typical for a north Florida spring, the water temperature is about 68 degrees, and many who swim out to the floating island are loath to return to the water after warming up.

    A concession stand offers snacks and ping-pong balls to use on two nearby crumbling tables.  There is a volleyball area, and picnic tables and grills provide platforms for fun, food, and generally hanging out all day long. The structures on the site have been there at least 30 years, and the whole place has a very old-timey feel about it.  The park is ideal for kids of all ages, from toddlers who splash in the shallows to elementary schoolers searching for crawdads and daring each other to jump from the platform to teens scoping each other out and trying to make the biggest splash.

    A fence keeps boats out of the swim area, and if you have a canoe you can explore the pond.  Four other springs lie within a five-minute paddle of the main spring.  The nearest is the best.  Aptly named Shangri-La, it is a strikingly beautiful spring that issues from a shallow crevice at the base of a 30-foot limestone bluff.  The peaceful translucent flow soothes every sense, and a trail to the bluff above offers a panoramic view.

    A little further down are Indian Washtub and Twin Cave springs. The latter lies among a scenic watery grove of cypress. The park costs just $1.50 per person, but it is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  Our summer is not complete without a visit every year; unwinding at this simple and lovely spring has become an annual family pilgrimage.
     
     


    Shangri-La Springs (2)
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd magnitude (estimated)
    Scenery'”excellent
    How Pristine?'”remnants of old dock and building materials near orifice
    Swimming'”good
    Protection'”unknown
    Wildlife'”fair to good
    Crowds'”small
    Access'”good (boat only)
    Facilities'”fine at Blue Springs 200 yards away
    Safety'”good
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”$1.50 per person

    Quick Directions
    From Highway 90 in Marianna, go north on State Road 71. A Wal-Mart is on the corner. (Note that the southern part of 71 that leads to I-10 is down the road to the west.) After about a mile, right past the green John Deere sign, Blue Spring Road forks off to the right. Go about 3 miles and you will see the sign to Blue Spring County Park. There is a put-in spot at Blue Springs to go downriver to Shangri-La.  The spring may also be reached by paddling approximately 2 miles upstream from the public boat ramp at Hunter Fish Camp Road. (From U.S. 90 in Marianna, turn north on 71 at the Wal-Mart and go to Blue Springs Road. Turn right at the big John Deer sign onto Blue Springs Rd. and go 1.6 miles to Hunter Fish Camp Road. Turn right and go 2/3 mile down this house-lined road to the boat ramp on the left, downhill from the road.)

    Detailed Directions
    To reach Shangri-La Spring from Blue, canoe downstream from the put-in at Blue Spring and stay on the right about 200 yards and you will see a lone cypress near the right shore. Look right for a lot of metal posts sticking out of the water, the remains of a dock. A fern-covered rock, about the size of a car, sits ten feet offshore. A smaller boulder is just downstream.  Onshore is a limestone bluff with a small overhang near the shore. The little overhang, about two feet high, is used for camping and can be messy. To the right of the overhang, in the water and under the bluff, is the main spring. If you approach the main spring from the right side of the large boulder, you should pass over the second spring, which is in the pond about 45 feet from the limestone bluff and the main spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The main spring is a beautiful little cave'”only five feet deep'”at the base of the limestone bluff, and just large enough to squeeze into. The water is exceptionally clear and there is a steady and gentle flow from the vent. Due to its shallowness, the water is paler blue than at Blue Spring upriver. DeLoach reports the small opening widens to a cavern of 15x20 feet with depths of 25 feet to a silty bottom (1997, p. 128). Another diver told JF that the cave extends about 200 feet but is quite narrow.  Metal poles'”the remnants of an old dock'”lead from the land to the large boulder in the water and over near the main spring at the base of the bluff.  There are also pieces of concrete block in the water.

    The second spring nearby is a 35-foot long fissure that emanates water from about 20 down.  During times of heavy hydrilla and algae infestation, the second spring is very silty and can be hard to spot.  Fish linger at the bottom of both springs.  When clear, the fissure is easy to spot and points toward the boulder next to the main Shangri-La Spring.  The bottom near the bluff is littered with large rocks and old building materials to stand on.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    Shangri-La is the prettiest little spring you will ever see, and its water is perfectly clear. Just looking at it produces a calming effect on the observer.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     



    Indian Washtub Spring
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude (estimated)
    Scenery'”very good
    How Pristine?'”very; an old dock nearby
    Swimming'”poor
    Protection'”unknown
    Wildlife'”good
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”easy, boat only
    Facilities'”none at spring; excellent at nearby Marianna Blue Springs
    Safety'”good
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”$1.50 per person

    Directions
    From Highway 90 in Marianna, go north on State Road 71. A Wal-Mart is on the corner. (Note that the southern part of 71 that leads to I-10 is down the road to the west.) After about a mile, right past the green John Deere sign, Blue Spring Road forks off to the right. Go about 3 miles and you will see the sign to Blue Spring County Park. There is a put-in spot at Blue Springs to go downriver to Indian Washtub. The spring is 200 yards downstream from, and on the same side of the pond as, Shangri-La. The spring is about 35 feet before a rickety dock that extends from some old concrete steps that lead up the hill.  The spring may also be reached by paddling approximately 2 miles upstream from the public boat ramp at Hunter Fish Camp Road. (From U.S. 90 in Marianna, turn north on 71 at the Wal-Mart and go to Blue Springs Road. Turn right at the big John Deer sign onto Blue Springs Rd. and go 1.6 miles to Hunter Fish Camp Road. Turn right and go 2/3 mile down this house-lined road to the boat ramp on the left, downhill from the road.)

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The site is not a spring but rather what is termed a ponor--basically a sinkhole that occurs in an area that is already under water. A large crevice is clearly visible about 20 feet offshore beneath a large limestone ledge at a depth of about 20 feet. The basin is attractive.  A log lies across one end of the gash in the rock. The nearby shore canopy blocks light and reduces visibility, giving the site a slight hazy appearance.  A diver explained to JF that the boulders at this site had collapsed into the vent, blocking most of the flow (in either direction) and preventing cave diving.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    Most boaters go right past the spring and never see it.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     




    Twin Caves Spring
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd magnitude (estimated)
    Scenery'”very good
    How Pristine?'”very unspoiled
    Swimming'”fair
    Protection'”good
    Wildlife'”good
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”easy, boat only
    Facilities'”none at spring; excellent at nearby Marianna Blue Springs
    Safety'”good
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”$1.50 per person

    Directions
    From Highway 90 in Marianna, go north on State Road 71. A Wal-Mart is on the corner. (Note that the southern part of SR71 that leads to I-10 is down the road to the west.) After about a mile, right past the green John Deere sign, Blue Spring Road forks off to the right. Go about 3 miles and you will see the sign to Blue Spring County Park. There is a put-in spot at Blue Springs to go downriver to Twin Caves. The spring is perpendicular from Indian Washtub. Paddling directly across the pond from Indian Washtub about 2/3 across and in an area of large cypresses, one should find the spring.  The spring may also be reached by paddling approximately 1.75 miles upstream from the public boat ramp at Hunter Fish Camp Road. (From U.S. 90 in Marianna, turn north on 71 at the Wal-Mart and go to Blue Springs Road. Turn right at the big John Deer sign onto Blue Springs Rd. and go 1.6 miles to Hunter Fish Camp Road. Turn right and go 2/3 mile down this house-lined road to the boat ramp on the left, downhill from the road.)

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Twin Caves is a circular spring in Merritt'™s Mill Pond. It is a large (about 25 feet) opening in the limestone bottom and is beneath the ledge at a depth of about 16 feet. A large log lies across the openings. Water flows from two holes below the log, and the bottom is very silty.  No flow is evident at the surface.  DeLoach describes that the two openings, which are 20 feet apart, "connect with a room at 30 feet" (1997, p. 128).  A diver told JF that the passages at Twin Caves, which he called "Twin Spring," have been explored to a distance of nearly a mile.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    Only worth a skin-dive when the exotic vegetation is cleared away. Otherwise, this spring is a bit creepy and surrounded by exotics.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Three Rivers Sate Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     




    Hole-in-the-Rock Spring
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”uknown
    Scenery'”excellent
    How Pristine?'”completely pristine
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”small-none
    Access'”very good, boat only
    Facilities'”dive platform nearby
    Safety'”good
    Scuba'”yes, lights needed
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From U.S. 90 in Marianna, turn north on 71 at the Wal-Mart and go to Blue Springs Road. Turn right at the big John Deer sign onto Blue Springs Rd. and go 1.6 miles to Hunter Fish Camp Road. Turn right and go 2/3 mile down this house-lined road to the boat ramp on the left, downhill from the road. Put in at boat ramp and paddle through cypress trees directly into and then upstream in the millpond for about a mile.  Look to the right/east for two small poles holding wire mesh sticking out of the water, and toward the shore for the small dive platform.  There is a reflector on the tree above the dive platform.  The spring is about 10 feet from the shore to the left of the dive platform.

    The spring may also be reached by paddling approximately 0.75 miles upstream from the public boat ramp at Hunter Fish Camp Road. (From U.S. 90 in Marianna, turn north on 71 at the Wal-Mart and go to Blue Springs Road. Turn right at the big John Deer sign onto Blue Springs Rd. and go 1.6 miles to Hunter Fish Camp Road. Turn right and go 2/3 mile down this house-lined road to the boat ramp on the left, downhill from the road.)

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring flows from an opening in the limestone bottom.  The surface is covered in duckweed, the areas is completely canopied, and the water is greenish, so visibility is poor.  The ledge appears to be about 6 feet beneath the surface, and JF was unable to determine how large it was.  There is no boil on the surface.  Land rises sharply above the water to form a bluff up to 60 feet high.  Almost directly above the spring is a natural cavity in the limestone that appears to have been extended by human use.  The small cave is about 6 feet wide, three-four feet high, and extends back about 20 feet.  The spring is named for this "hole in the rock."

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The site is very attractive--especially the little cave on the bluff.  The spring, however, being covered in duckweek, is invisible and only of interest to scuba divers.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     


    Gator Spring
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”uknown
    Scenery'”excellent
    How Pristine?'”completely pristine
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”unknown
    Wildlife'”very good
    Crowds'”some use on warm weekends
    Access'”very good, boat only
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”fair
    Scuba'”yes, lights needed
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From U.S. 90 in Marianna, turn north on 71 at the Wal-Mart and go to Blue Springs Road. Turn right at the big John Deer sign onto Blue Springs Rd. and go 1.6 miles to Hunter Fish Camp Road. Turn right and go 2/3 mile down this house-lined road to the boat ramp on the left, downhill from the road. Put in at boat ramp and paddle through cypress trees directly into and then across the Mill Pond to the SE bank, about 150 yards.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    This spring is an exposed limestone outcrop at the base of the 30+-foot bank set into the bluff. The opening is an upside-down v-shaped cleft that is about 4 feet wide at the bottom and narrows to a point at the top. The opening extends beneath the surface to the bottom, which is about five feet deep. Ferns grow on of the rock around the cave. The surface near the cave was almost completely covered in duckweed, and some eel grass was also present. No water was visible flowing out of the cave, but the duckweed does not extend into the cave, suggesting it is pushed out by the flow.  A diver told JF that one can travel--swimming with side-mounted tanks and lights--about 250 feet into the cave.  There is a smaller cleft a few feet to the left of the main opening, and the bottom was 5-6 feet deep on dates of visit in 2001.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The authors have not seen anything like Gator Spring in Florida. Nearby Shangri-La Spring, just below the headwater of Merritt'™s Mill Pond, is about the same size and shape and is also against the limestone bank. However, the opening to Shangri-La is completely under the water, as is the case for nearly all springs. Gator Spring is halfway out of the water. Conceivably, a swimmer or snorkeler could swim directly into it, although lights are strongly recommended. The spring is a small package, but is very visually appealing and well worth a visit.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Three Rivers State Park
    Falling Water State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     

    Spring Lake Spring Group

    Located in southwestern Jackson County, Spring Lake is not a lake at all, but is rather the spring run that has Mill Pond Spring at its head and Springboard, Double, Black, and Gadsen (or Gadsden) Springs along the first two miles of its run and contributing to it.  After several miles, the "lake" is renamed Dry Creek, is fed by additional creeks, and flows into the Chipola River after an estimated 13 miles.

    The only public boat ramp for Spring Lake is near Black Spring; all the other springs can be reached from this ramp by passing through the Black Spring basin and into the Spring Lake run.  There are several houses along the run, including houses adjacent to Springboard and Mill Pond Springs.  No landfall may be made at these sites, and signs near Mill Pond Spring say that the water is also private property.  Except for the few houses, the spring run is in a natural state and is very attractive.

    On the day the authors visited'”a time of historic drought (Feb. 2001), the "lake" was only three or four inches deep in most places and had many sandbars.  The authors were frequently forced to dig their paddles into the sand to propel the canoe.  In other places, the water was a 1-2 feet deep.  The bottom is sandy and soft'”one can sink as much as a foot into it and have a shoe sucked off. Access is easier in times of higher water levels.

    Double Springs is actually a karst window, or what was previously termed a spring-sink combination.  The "window" is not fully enclosed, however, and water from the spring also flows into Spring Lake.  The authors saw three people while on the "Lake," and none of them was friendly.

    After visiting the area, JF was told by a diver that there is another small and attractive spring called Casket Spring that is between Springboard and Mill Pond Spring in the NW corner of the "lake."  Another visit will be required to locate, photograph, and describe this spring, which was described as being coffin-shaped.

    Overall, the Spring Lake run and springs are very interesting and appealing.  It is a great pity that this area did not get into state hands many years ago before the houses were built around most of the springs.   It comes cloe to rivaling the Ichetucknee River for natural beauty, springs, and recreational potential.
     
     

    Black Spring
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”excellent
    How Pristine?'”very pristine
    Swimming'”poor-fair
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”boat traffic on warm weekends
    Access'”good, boat only
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”unknown
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From U.S. 90 in Marianna, go west on Highway 276, pass under Interstate 10, and continue on to Highway 167. Turn left and go until you pass County Road 1656. Continue on 1.1 miles to Mystery Springs Road. A gray doublewide trailer home is at the intersection. Turn left and proceed 1.4 miles on a dirt road until it and the forest on the left seem to end and there is a large "No Trespassing" sign. Turn left just before the sign onto a narrow dirt road and drive about 100 yards to the water, which is the east run of Black Spring. Proceed by boat 200-300 feet to the left (west) to the spring basin.

    The other four springs in this section (Double, Mill Pond, Gadsen, and Springboard), are all accessible from this boat ramp.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The basin is round and about 150 feet across. The water is clear and very dark with visibility of 2-3 feet only; the name of the spring is derived from this dark, reflective water. According to Rosenau et al. (1977, p. 173), the spring is 75 feet deep and has nearly vertical sides. There are water lettuce and hyacinth in the basin. The spring is surrounded by dense floodplain forest.

    The spring has two runs that radiate from its basin, each of which is about 100 yards long: one to the east (and the boat launch before continuing east in a swampy area) and one to the west (toward Spring Lake). The western run then splits around a small island, with one channel continuing west and upriver in Spring Lake and the other north and east toward the downstream portion of Spring Lake and the Chipola River. The runs are about 50 feet wide and 1-6 feet deep.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana
    Cows were heard lowing a short distance south of the spring.

    Personal Impressions
    The authors had wanted to visit this spring for several years, and its natural beauty met all their expectations. It is a wild place in a very rural area and feels remote and peaceful.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
    Apalachicola National Forest
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     



    Double Spring
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”fine-excellent
    How Pristine?'”houses and docks adjacent to spring/sink; otherwise natural
    Swimming'”fine
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”boat only, no fishing or landfall allowed
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”unknown
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From U.S. 90 in Marianna, go west on Highway 276, pass under Interstate 10, and continue on to Highway 167. Turn left and go until you pass County Road 1656. Continue on 1.1 miles to Mystery Springs Road. A gray doublewide trailer home is at the intersection. Turn left and proceed 1.4 miles on a dirt road until it and the forest on the left seem to end and there is a large "No Trespassing" sign. Turn left just before the sign onto a narrow dirt road and drive about 100 yards to the water, which is the east run of Black Spring. Proceed by boat 200-300 feet to the left (west) to the spring basin.

    From Black Spring, take the west run 100 yards and go upriver about ¾ mile. Look for the mouth of a small run on the left (south) just after passing a house on the north side. Do not attempt to go up this run, as it is shallow and obstructed by fallen logs. Go a short distance further upriver and bear to the left at stands of tall reeds around to the spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The site is a karst window or spring/sink combination adjacent to Spring Lake. The karst window is oval-shaped'”80 yards long, 25 yards wide, and shallow (less than one foot on date of visit during drought in February 2001) except at the two limestone openings. Water flows from a circular pool on the west end that is 70 feet in diameter and about 35 feet deep. There is a strong boil over the spring, and the limestone opening was visible amid aquatic vegetation. Water in the spring was slightly blue. There is a dock over the spring.

    Water flows east from the spring into a sinkhole with intensely blue water. There appeared to be a rock shelf or ledge at the sinkhole. On date of visit, the spring water flowed fairly swiftly and tumbled over a log that had fallen across the short run. At the sinkhole, there was a perceptible circular motion of the water going underground. The sinkhole does not capture all of the water flowing from the spring. Some water flows directly into Spring Lake through the reeds north of the run before reaching the sinkhole, and a small amount also spills out the back of the sinkhole side into Spring Lake at the mouth of the shallow run mentioned above in the directions.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
    Apalachicola National Forest
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     



    Springboard Spring
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”fine
    How Pristine?'”land cleared above spring; otherwise very natural
    Swimming'”fair-good
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”some use by swimmers and fishermen
    Access'”fair-good
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”unknown
    Scubayes
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From U.S. 90 in Marianna, go west on Highway 276, pass under Interstate 10, and continue on to Highway 167. Turn left and go until you pass County Road 1656. Continue on 1.1 miles to Mystery Springs Road. A gray doublewide trailer home is at the intersection. Turn left and proceed 1.4 miles on a dirt road until it and the forest on the left seem to end and there is a large "No Trespassing" sign. Turn left just before the sign onto a narrow dirt road and drive about 100 yards to the water, which is the east run of Black Spring. Proceed by boat 200-300 feet to the left (west) to the spring basin.

    From Black Spring, take the west run 100 yards and go upriver about 0.8 mile. Look for the wide (40 feet) mouth of the Springboard Spring run about 150 yards upriver from Double Spring on the right (north) side across from an area of large stands of tall reeds in the Lake. Follow run 200 yards to the spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring pool lies in an area of dense vegetation and floodplain forest. The basin in nearly 100 feet across, and the pool is circular. The water was not very clear, and the depth could not be determined. According to Rosenau et al. (1977, p. 188), the pool has steep sides and is more than 40 feet deep. There was vegetation in the water, and the bottom was muddy. Land rises up perhaps 40 feet from the back (north) end of the pool and is cleared and grassy.

    Except for the land directly behind the spring, the area around the spring is swampy and low and covered in dense vegetation and floodplain forest. The spring run narrows from the width of the pool (about 100 feet) to as little as 25 feet across along its 600 foot run to Spring Lake. The run was less than one foot deep on the date of the authors'™ visit in February 2001.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The area around the spring is mostly wild and unspoiled, and the spring is attractive despite its not having clear water.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
    Apalachicola National Forest
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     



    Mill Pond Spring
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”fine-excellent
    How Pristine?'”run is beautiful, houses and docks near spring
    Swimming'”private
    Protection'”unknown, private
    Access'”private, no access

    Directions
    From U.S. 90 in Marianna, go west on Highway 276, pass under Interstate 10, and continue on to Highway 167. Turn left and go until you pass County Road 1656. Continue on 1.1 miles to Mystery Springs Road. A gray doublewide trailer home is at the intersection. Turn left and proceed 1.4 miles on a dirt road until it and the forest on the left seem to end and there is a large "No Trespassing" sign. Turn left just before the sign onto a narrow dirt road and drive about 100 yards to the water, which is the east run of Black Spring. Proceed by boat 200-300 feet to the left (west) to the spring basin.

    From Black Spring, take the west run 100 yards and go upriver about 1.25 miles. Bear left (south) as the "Lake" narrows, staying with the main flow and going against it. The "Lake" narrows from 500 feet across to 40 feet and turns southerly. This narrow portion goes about 150 feet but then widens to form a large oval pool about 400 feet by 125 feet, culminating at the spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring forms the headwaters of Spring Lake, the run that is subsequently fed by Springboard, Double, Black, and Gadsen (or Gadsden) Springs and flows on to the Chipola River. The authors were only able to view the spring from a distance of 300 feet, and so rely on Rosenau et al. (1977) for a precise description of the spring itself:

    The spring vent is a 5-foot-wide irregular opening in a clayey dolomitic limestone. It is on the west side of a steep-walled 30-foot diameter cavity more than 50 feet deep. Large limestone blocks are scattered around the vent. The water is clean, clear and very blue'”visibility is excellent (p. 184). The spring forms a pool/basin that is 125 wide and 400 feet long. Except at the vent, this pool is very shallow and was only 1-2 feet deep on the authors'™ date of visit (Feb. 2001).  The flow from the spring is 20-30 cfs.  There are houses on the hills on the west and south sides of the basin, and deep woods to the east and north. Water in the pool is very clear, and the authors could discern from a distance that the water over the vent was blue. There is a dock adjacent to the spring, and land slopes upward from the spring.  The spring has also been known as Cherokee Spring.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The springs and run at this site are nearly'”not quite but nearly'”comparable to the incomparable spring-created and -fed Ichetucknee River.  Both are spring runs of great natural beauty and include several significant and large-scale springs. The difference is that the land at Spring Lake is in private hands, and the owners want to keep all this beauty and recreation to themselves.  Perhaps the State of Florida or conservation organizations might have identified or worked to acquire this outstanding area years ago before it was developed and closed off, but that is now all spring water under the bridge.  Alas.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
    Apalachicola National Forest
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     



    Gadsen (or Gadsden) Spring
    Jackson County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”unknown
    How Pristine?'”unknown
    Swimming'”fishing
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”small
    Access'”good, boat only
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”unknown
    Scuba'”unknown
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From U.S. 90 in Marianna, go west on Highway 276, pass under Interstate 10, and continue on to Highway 167. Turn left and go until you pass County Road 1656. Continue on 1.1 miles to Mystery Springs Road. A gray doublewide trailer home is at the intersection. Turn left and proceed 1.4 miles on a dirt road until it and the forest on the left seem to end and there is a large "No Trespassing" sign. Turn left just before the sign onto a narrow dirt road and drive about 100 yards to the water, which is the east run of Black Spring. Proceed by boat 200-300 feet to the left (west) to the spring basin.

    From Black Spring, take the north run and proceed downriver about 1/3 mile to mouth of Gadsen (or Gadsden) Spring run. The spring is 1,000 feet at the head of the run.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The authors have not visited this spring, and so rely on descriptions by Rosenau et al. (1977) and DeLoach (1997). DeLoach reports that Gadsen (or Gadsden) Spring is about 75 feet in diameter and has a cave at a depth of 50 feet (p. 129). Rosenau et al. describe the pool as oblong, with limited visibility in the blue-green water. The spring run is shallow and varies in width from 25 to 150 feet (pp. 182-3).

    Use/Access
    Access is by boat, and the spring is used primarily for fishing.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
    Apalachicola National Forest
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
     
     
     

    Other Jackson County Springs

    There are at least three other clusters of springs in Jackson County. The authors have not yet visited these sites in a systematic way.  Information is provided below.  Springs of Florida (Rosenau et al., 1977, pp. 173-190) and the Florida Atlas and Gazetteer (4th ed., 1997, pp. 31-32) provide some additional location and/or description information on these springs.  The three groups are as follows:
     
     

    South Sneads Spring Group
    (Sinai, White, Blue, plus at least 7 unnamed springs)

    Sinai and five unnamed springs lie just north of Interstate 10 in SE Jackson County south of the town of Sneads. The area is farmland, and several if not all of the springs have been greatly modified from their natural state for agricultural purposes. They have been dammed to form ponds and water reservoirs. Sinai and 2-3 of the unnamed springs may be viewed from a network of dirt roads that pass through the farms in the area. Springflow was not evident in the ponds that were seen, and Sinai was so overgrown as to prevent any view of the water. Water from these spring joins into a run that flows to the Apalachicola River.

    White, Blue, and the other unnamed springs are just south of Interstate 10 due south of the above group. As described to JF by locals who had been to White and Blue Springs, the area is very swampy and frequented primarily by wildlife and hunters. These springs were not visited. These lower springs form separate runs or sloughs or feed swamp that abuts the Apalachicola River.
     
     

    North Jackson County/Chipola River Springs
    (Tanner, Webbeville, Daniel, Hayes, unnamed springs)

    Located off both the east and west banks of the Chipola River in northern Jackson County, these springs have not been visited by the authors. Tanner, Daniel, and Hayes Springs all have long runs (at least one mile) that may or may not be navigable by canoe and are described as being in swampy areas. Rosenau et al. provide directions from land.
     
     

    South Jackson County/Chipola River Springs
    (Dykes, 4-6 unnamed springs)

    The Chipola River below Marianna has several other springs identified in the Florida Atlas and Gazetteer (4th edition, 1997, p. 32). One, just below the dam that forms Merritt's Mill Pond, is set among caves and called Dykes Spring in A Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to the Streams of Florida (Carter & Pearce, 1993, p. 63). The Gazetteer identifies four other springs along or with short runs to the Chipola River as it flows south out of Jackson County paralleled by State Roads 73 (to the west) and 71 (east). It is probable that these runs could be explored readily by canoe, although they are not described in any literature we have found.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at these springs, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida
     
     

    Gadsden County Springs
    Chattahoochee Spring
    Gadsden County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”5th magnitude (estimated)
    Scenery'”unknown
    How Pristine?'”integrated into manmade drainage system
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”excellent
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”unknown
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”unknown
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    "In Chattahoochee, in a county park about 0.5 miles south of U.S. HWY 90 at the west end of town" (Rosenau et al., 1977, p. 112).

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The authors have not visited this spring. According to Rosenau et al. (1977), it is a series of seeps in a gully 150 feet southeast of the parking lot in the county park.

    Use/Access
    No use. The flow was in years past impounded in a swimming pool that has not been used for at least 30 years.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
    Three Rivers State Park
     
     

    Glen Julia Spring
    Gadsden County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”4th magnitude
    Scenery'”good
    How Pristine?'”springhead pristine, remnant of old manmade swim area evident
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”fairly arduous
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”poor
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    These directions are imprecise; JF visited the spring in 1995, got lost several times, and was finally directed to the site by a local resident (see "Local Springiana" below). From Quincy, drive NW on U.S. 90 about 9 miles to hamlet of Mt. Pleasant. At intersection of either SR 483 or SR 379 (cannot recall which!) turn left. There will be an ancient general store on the right. The road passes an elementary school on the right, and then the dirt road to what was once Glen Julia Park will be on the right. In 1995, the old sign was still partially visible. Follow road to site of former picnic area and then down the hill to the right and look for the site of the old manmade spring pool and the creek flow from the spring on the left. Follow if you wish and try to find the spring itself.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is a small upwelling of clear water that forms a creek. Below the spring run, adjacent to where the spring originally flowed into a ravine, is a one-time manmade swim area approximately one acre in size. The area, with an old earthen dam built at the north end, has long since been drained, and the run now flows through into the broken vertical overflow culvert and through an underground pipe to South Mosquito Creek and ultimately into the Apalachicola River. The spring run is heavily forested, and there are clay deposits in it.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana Personal Impressions
    The authors want to return to the site, properly clothed, and explore it further. It is (in the author'™s imagination) a Florida equivalent to pre-Columbian sites in South America in the sense that nature has rapidly undone the works of the hand of man.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Florida Caverns State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
    Three Rivers State Park
     
     


    Indian Springs
    Gadsden County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”unknown
    Scenery'”poor
    How Pristine?'”manmade swim area
    Swimming'”private
    Protection'”unknown
    Access'”none
    Scuba'”no

    Directions
    From Quincy, drive west on State Road 12 approximately 15 miles. Immediately before the intersection of SR 12 and SR 269, look for a couple of houses on the left that share a common driveway. The spring is on the property of the house on the left (east side) and cannot be viewed from the road.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    On date of visit (1996), the owners were not at home to ask, so JF was unable to see if the manmade spring area was still intact or whether it had been drained. As described in Rosenau et al. (1977, p. 116), the site consists of numerous seeps which had been impounded by manmade berm about 75 by 200 feet with depths of up to eight feet.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features

    Florida Caverns State Park
    Torreya State Park
    Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve
    Three Rivers State Park
     
     
     
     

     Econfina Creek Springs

    Depending on how they are counted, 42 or more springs lie along clear Econfina Creek north of Panama City straddling State Highway 20.  Econfina Creek (pronounced "E'™-co-fi'™-nuh" or 'œ-ner''”is not to be confused with the Econfina River--pronounced "E'™-co-fee'™nuh" or 'œ-ner'--near Perry).  All the springs described below can be reached by canoe in a single day along a stretch of about 7 miles starting at the Walsingham bridge to a point about a mile below the State Road 20 bridge.

    The 1977 Springs of Florida (Rosenau et al.) and the new publication, First Magnitude Springs of Florida (Scott et al., 2002) classify all the springs below the SR 20 bridge as the Gainer Springs group.  Several of these springs have other names, and these names are provided in this Guide.  The authors have found other springs and seeps in this area.  The springs are listed as they lie along the east and west banks of Econfina Creek from north to south.

    Fed by the many springs, Econfina Creek is fairly clear at normal levels, very clear when the water is low, but dark in times of high water.  In fact, springs contribute an estimated 2/3 of the total flow of Econfina Creek or 200,000,000 gallons a day under normal flow conditions (Richards, in 'œAbstracts of . . . 2000,' p. 4).  The clustering of so many attractive springs in so small a space, along with the fine rapids on the creek above the spring has made this site very popular with canoers and kayakers.  The Northwest Florida Water Management District manages much of the land around the river.  The district has been improving access and utilization of the area for recreation, and manages nearly 40,000 acres around the river to protect the water resource and recharge area.

    Econfina Creek is one of the more attractive and pristine rivers in Florida.  One can canoe for several miles in the upper stretches and see no signs of civilization.  Dramatic bluffs line sections of the river, reaching over 40 feet high.  There are sections with exposed limestone reminiscent of the upper Suwannee River.  Most of the river is canopied and flows through a thickly forested corridor that has been preserved amid all the logging and farming around it.

    Econfina Creek has the most challenging rapids of any Florida river, located in a stretch a few miles north of the springs described in this section.  Water flows swiftly through a narrow and often blocked channel that is like a mini-gorge with 30-40 foot banks on both sides.  Only kayaks and sturdy canoes can navigate this stretch, and only when the water height is not too high or too low.  Wooden canoes can be wrecked by the rocks.  Several publication and web sites, including A Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to the Streams of Florida, Volume 1 (Carter & Pearce, 1985), provide detailed information on navigating this stretch.

    According to Carter & Pierce, the name 'œEconfina' is derived from a Muskegon Indian word meaning natural bridge.  Apparently, there was once such a bridge where SR20 now crosses the river (p. 53).  The upper portion of the river'”above Williford Spring'”is often obstructed and requires portages.  The upper section of the river is also frequently spanned by spider webs up to 30 feet across.  One such river-spanning spider, which the authors encountered face-to-face many times on a September paddle, was bright red, white, and blue.

    Two canoe/kayak livery companies serve people interested in paddling Econfina Creek.  Creek Cruisers is located on the SW side of the SR20 bridge over Econfina Creek'”its number is 850-747-8001.  Econfina Creek Canoe Livery is along Strickland Road, a turn-off from SR 20 to the north about 1/3 mile west of the river'”their number is 850-722-9032.  Both companies rent canoes and kayaks and provide shuttle service to those who wish to explore the river and its springs.
     
     

    Walsingham Spring
    Washington County

     Summary of Features
     Scale'”3rd magnitude (estimated)
     Scenery'”fine
     How Pristine?'”completely pristine
     Swimming'”poor
     Protection'”excellent
     Crowds'”none
     Access'”very good'”only by boat
     Facilities'”none at spring, good at park nearby
     Safety'”very good
     Scuba'”no
     Cost'”free

    Directions
    From the intersection of State Road 20 and U.S. 231 north of Panama City, drive west on SR20 about 7 miles to bridge over Econfina Creek.  Continue another 1/3 mile, then turn right onto Strickland Road.  Drive 2.6 miles to stop sign at T-junction.  Turn left at stop sign onto what becomes Porter Park Road.  Continue 2.3 miles, then turn right onto Hampshire Road.  Continue 1.2 miles, then turn right at sign for Walsingham bridge.  Continue another 1.55 miles to one-lane plank Walsingham Bridge over Econfina Creek.  There is a primitive launch at the SE edge of the bridge, or carry on another ¼ mile to Walsingham Park, which has a better boat launch.  The probable spring site is in the river toward the right (west) side, about ¼ mile below the bridge (about 100 yards below the park), on a sharp right turn, just after a creek enters Econfina Creek from the east side.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Two other written sources place Walsingham Spring ¼ and 0.4 mile below the Walsingham Bridge.  The site the authors identify as the probable Walsingham Spring is about ¼ mile below the bridge as noted in the directions above.  There are prominent boils in the river on a nearly 90-degree turn to the right just past where Mitchell Mill Creek enters Econfina Creek.  On date of visit (September 2001) Mitchell Mill Creek had virtually no flow.  The boils are just to the right of center of Econfina Creek, not on the west bank as noted by Carter & Pierce (1985, p. 56).  A small sandbank on the west side of the creek provides a platform for viewing the probable spring.  The river is about 20 feet across at this point, and 5 feet deep.  The bank along the river is 4 feet high.

    The boils are strong and prominent (about 4 feet wide), although not appreciably raised above the common river surface.  The water at the probable spring site is about 5 feet deep, with fair visibility but not all the way to the bottom of the yellow-brown water.  JF put on a mask, leaned out of the canoe, and attempted to see the spring vent, without success.  He could see the sandy bottom, but not the complete area underneath the boil.  The current was strong, and on this cool morning he did not venture into the water.

    Because (1) the authors did not see a vent, (2) swirling water on river bends often looks like a spring boil, and (3) the Carter & Pierce description of the spring as being on the 'œwest bank,' the authors will only venture to say they saw and photographed the probable site of Walsingham Spring.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    As is often the case, old and sketchy directions led to confusion for the authors.  JF should have gotten all the way into the river and conducted a proper inspection of the site to verify whether or not it was a spring.  There was nothing else in the area that looked anything like a spring.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Pitt Spring Recreation Area
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     

    Unnamed Econfina Creek-bed Spring
    Washington County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude (est.)
    Scenery'”excellent
    How Pristine?'”completely pristine
    Swimming'”poor
    Protection'”excellent
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”very good, boat only
    Facilities'”none, good at park ½ mile upriver
    Safety'”very good
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Quick Directions
    About 1/3 mile downstream of Walsingham Park in Washington County in the bed of Econfina Creek.

    Full Directions
    From the intersection of State Road 20 and U.S. 231 north of Panama City, drive west on SR20 about 7 miles to bridge over Econfina Creek.  Continue another 1/3 mile, then turn right onto Strickland Road.  Drive 2.6 miles to stop sign at T-junction.  Turn left at stop sign onto what becomes Porter Park Road.  Continue 2.3 miles, then turn right onto Hampshire Road.  Continue 1.2 miles, then turn right at sign for Walsingham bridge.  Continue another 1.55 miles to one-lane plank Walsingham Bridge over Econfina Creek.  There is a primitive launch at the SE edge of the bridge, or carry on another ¼ mile to Walsingham Park, which has a better boat launch.  The probable spring site is in the riverbed, just over a half mile below the Walsingham Bridge and shortly past where power wires cross the river.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    This probable spring site is on a sharp river bend.  A submerged limestone shelf extends about 10 feet across the river from the west bank in the center of the bend (which is sharply to the left as one goes downstream).  A large submerged tree trunk is a few feet upriver of the limestone shelf and lies parallel to it, athwart the river.  There are prominent boils raised 1-2 inches above the common river surface and covering an area perhaps 10 feet across.  The water is clear to a depth of about 4 feet, and yellow-brown.  Water appears to flow from the bottom of the limestone shelf across the river toward the east bank where there is large sandy area.

    The authors were searching for a spring at this approximate location based on a line in Carter & Pearce stating the presence of 'œanother spring that boils up in the river another half mile [below Walsingham Spring]' (1985, p. 56).  JF attempted to free-dive the site, but the powerful current, dark water, and sand particles prevented a definitive identification of a flow point at the base of the limestone shelf.  The water appeared to be about 8 feet deep at the base of the shelf.  The river is about 30 feet across at this point, and the general depth is about 4 feet.

    As with nearby Walsingham Spring, this site is characterized as a probable spring.  A vent was not seen, and turns in river can create surface disturbances that look just like spring boils.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The site is very attractive and lively, with strong river and probable spring flow combining on a sharp bend of the river.  The sandbank on the east side provides a good spot for beaching picnicking, resting, and contemplating whether there is a spring flowing strongly 20 feet away.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Pitt Spring Recreation Area
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     

    Glowing Spring
    Washington County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd magnitude (est.)
    Scenery'”Excellent-outstanding
    How Pristine?'” completely pristine
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”excellent
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”fair, canoe only
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”very good
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Quick Directions
    About 1/3 mile upstream of Blue Springs on the left/west bank of Econfina Creek.

    Full Directions
    As there is no general access to the nearby launch at Blue Springs, one must put in at the Walsingham Bridge or at Walsingham Park.  From the intersection of State Road 20 and U.S. 231 north of Panama City, drive west on SR20 about 7 miles to bridge over Econfina Creek.  Continue another 1/3 mile, then turn right onto Strickland Road.  Drive 2.6 miles to stop sign at T-junction.  Turn left at stop sign onto what becomes Porter Park Road.  Continue 2.3 miles, then turn right onto Hampshire Road.  Continue 1.2 miles, then turn right at sign for Walsingham bridge.  Continue another 1.55 miles to one-lane plank Walsingham Bridge over Econfina Creek.  There is a primitive launch at the SE edge of the bridge, or carry on another ¼ mile to Walsingham Park, which has a better boat launch.

    The spring is about 2.5 miles downstream of Walsingham Park, along the right (west) bank.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is a well-defined and prominent boil about 3 feet from the right or west bank of Econfina Creek.  The boil is circular, 3-4 feet in diameter, and raised about 3 inches above the surface.  The adjacent bank is 3-4 feet high, sheer, and edged with tree roots and cypress knees.  Water in the spring is very clear'”in contrast to the amber-colored river'”and flows from a small limestone opening at a depth of 5 feet.  The river is about 40 feet wide at this point.

    On date and time of visit'”noon in late September 2001'”the spring was illuminated by a shaft of light that gave it the appearance of being lit from within or below.  This striking glow evoked a spotlight and made the otherwise small spring visible from over 100 feet away. There are several very large trees growing near the spring and providing a thick canopy, including cypress, pine and magnolias.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The authors have found numerous springs that are not recorded in any publication or by the State of Florida; this is the only one that they have taken the liberty/arrogance to name themselves.  The happy accident of lighting at this pinpointed spot created a unique visual impression and the inspiration for the name of Glowing Spring.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Pitt Spring Recreation Area
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     

    Washington Blue Springs Group
    Washington County

     Photo and Map

     Summary of Features
     Scale'”2nd magnitude
     Scenery'”fine
     How Pristine?'”retaining wall around main spring, some trash and cleared land, otherwise fairly pristine
     Swimming'”very good
     Protection'”excellent
     Crowds'”small
     Access'”fair/moderately arduous by water; fine but limited by land, permit only
     Facilities'”good
     Safety'”very good
     Scuba'”no
     Cost'”free by canoe, camping fee for land access

    Directions
    By Land:  From intersection of U.S. 231 and State Road 20, drive 5.8 miles west on SR 20 and turn right on Blue Springs Road north and continue about 1.3 miles to the spring.

    From Econfina Creek:  As there is no general access from land to Blue Springs, one must put in at the Walsingham Bridge or at Walsingham Park.  From the intersection of State Road 20 and U.S. 231 north of Panama City, drive west on SR20 about 7 miles to bridge over Econfina Creek.  Continue another 1/3 mile, then turn right onto Strickland Road.  Drive 2.6 miles to stop sign at T-junction.  Turn left at stop sign onto what becomes Porter Park Road.  Continue 2.3 miles, then turn right onto Hampshire Road.  Continue 1.2 miles, then turn right at sign for Walsingham bridge.  Continue another 1.55 miles to one-lane plank Walsingham Bridge over Econfina Creek.  There is a primitive launch at the SE edge of the bridge, or carry on another ¼ mile to Walsingham Park, which has a better boat launch.

    The springs are about 3 miles downstream of Walsingham Park, on the left/east side of the river.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Blue Springs is a complex of pools, coves, and backwaters covering several acres and comprising at least three areas with spring flows.  For ease of discussion, the authors will describe the complex in five parts that correspond to the enclosed map:  (1) the consolidated spring run, (2) the backwater pool and island, (3) the Blue Spring pool/basin, (4) the limestone cavity/grotto arm, and (5) the large pool.

    The (1) consolidated spring run is easy to spot entering Econfina Creek from the east bank.  The run is about 35 feet wide, 2-4 feet deep, and with clear and gray-blue water.  There is some vegetation on the bottom, and small fish are visible.  After about 150 feet and angling to the right, the run forks at what appears to be the site of an old beaver dam.

    The right fork leads to (2) the backwater pool and island.  This run is 3-5 feet deep, about 30 feet wide, and somewhat murky.  Several turtles were seen.  In the middle of the run on east (?) (left as one ascends) side is a limestone bank.  There was one clearly evident spring from a cavity at the base of the bank with a small flow.  The run extends back 150-200 feet to a circular pool with a small island in the middle.  The water in the pool is very still/stagnant, and the authors counted eight tires that had been rolled/thrown/placed in the pool and its run.

    Returning to the junction with the consolidated run, bear right or up the clear run to the large pool, and around the right for another perhaps 300 feet to the (3) Blue Spring pool/basin.  The Blue Springs basin is oval, about 60 by 80 feet in diameter, and flows into the large pool.  Water in the pool is clear and blue-gray, and 5-7 feet deep.  Water flows from 2 small limestone cavities/grottos in the back left corner of the pool as one approaches from the run.  Ferns grow above the springs.  The eastern/left side of the pool has a retaining wall, and there are 18 concrete steps (about 15 feet wide) leading from the bank down to the spring pool.  Many small fish congregate in the pool.  The steps lead to a camping area.  The larger of the two cavities/grottos has the stronger flow, and leads to a small cavern.

    Exiting the Blue Springs pool, and again entering/skirting the large pool, paddle another perhaps 300 feet around to the right to the (4) limestone cavity/grotto arm.  A cypress tree in the water marks the way to the cavities/grottos.  Approximately 6 springs flow from the base of a limestone bluff and boulders.  Water is only a few inches deep, and except for the mouths of the springs is covered in aquatic vegetation.  At the springs the bottom is covered with small rocks, and there is some broken glass.  There were many small fish and large tadpoles in the water on date of visit in late September 2001.  There is a boulder in the shallow water, and the limestone bluff/bank is pocked and eroded by the flowing water.

    The large pool (5) ranges from a few inches to 3 feet deep and may contain additional springs.  It appears to be a nursery for small fish and tadpoles, and herons were seen.  It is lushly vegetated, and there appears to be little water movement except where the spring runs flow through it.

    Use/Access

    Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features
    Pitt Spring Recreation Area
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area

    Contact Information
    Northwest Florida Water Management District
    850-539-5999
     
     

    Below-Blue Spring Run
    Washington County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd magnitude (est.)
    Scenery'”fine
    How Pristine?'”completely pristine
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”excellent
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”fairly arduous, canoe and wading
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”fair
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    As land access from Blue Springs is limited, one must canoe from Walsingham Bridge or Walsingham Park.  From the intersection of State Road 20 and U.S. 231 north of Panama City, drive west on SR20 about 7 miles to bridge over Econfina Creek.  Continue another 1/3 mile, then turn right onto Strickland Road.  Drive 2.6 miles to stop sign at T-junction.  Turn left at stop sign onto what becomes Porter Park Road.  Continue 2.3 miles, then turn right onto Hampshire Road.  Continue 1.2 miles, then turn right at sign for Walsingham bridge.  Continue another 1.55 miles to one-lane plank Walsingham Bridge over Econfina Creek.  There is a primitive launch at the SE edge of the bridge, or carry on another ¼ mile to Walsingham Park, which has a better boat launch.  The mouth of the run of this spring run is just below the mouth of the Blue Springs Group run on the Econfina River, a little over 3 miles from the put-in.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The authors did not see this spring, and wondered if the flow'”which is clearly from a spring'”might actually be part of the springflow from the nearby Blue Springs group.  The mouth of the run is about 10 feet wide, a few inches deep, and is obscured by overhanging branches.  Water is a few inches deep and clear.  The shallow run ascends only about 50 feet before reaching a low (3-4 feet) limestone bank.  Water flows both from beneath this bank and over it in a 3-foot cascade that is audible from Econfina Creek.  Behind the bank is an irregular pool perhaps 50 feet wide and extending out of sight more than 150 feet away.  The pool is also shallow, muddy, and filled with aquatic vegetation and fallen trees.

    The authors did not feel comfortable wading in the muddy pool, and so did not locate a spring.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    While not inviting, the site was very intriguing.  The authors would very much like to know if this flow is from the Blue Springs group or is perhaps a separate spring.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Pitt Spring Recreation Area
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     


    Econfina Creek Canoe Livery Springs Group
    Washington County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd magnitude (estimated)
    Scenery'”fine
    How Pristine?'”near cleared areas, concrete structure in one spring, otherwise very pristine
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”somewhat difficult, by water and wading
    Facilities'”good at canoe livery nearby, none at springs
    Safety'”fair
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From the intersection of State Road 20 and U.S. 231 north of Panama City, drive west on SR20 about 7 miles to bridge over Econfina Creek.  Put in at bridge and go about 1.25 miles upriver, past Pitt, Sylvian, and Williford Springs and look for mouth of spring run on the left (west) bank.  Alternately, the run may be reached directly by land from the property of the Econfina Creek Canoe Livery on Strickland Road, a turn-off from SR 20 to the north about 1/3 mile west of the river'”phone number 850-722-9032.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Two clusters of small springs lie at the head of connected spring runs that join to flow into the west bank of Econfina Creek about ¼ mile north of Williford Spring.  The more westerly spring is in an area of thick forest and karst terrain and consists of three flows.  Each flow is from the base of a limestone bank and from a small limestone cavity.  Two springs flow from small cavities/grottoes at the very head of the run.  This area if roughly oval, about 10 feet in diameter, and opens directly into the run.  The water is clear and only 2-3 inches deep, and the bottom is rocky and sandy.  The third and smallest flow is about 40 feet from the head pool on the west side of the run.  The first 200 feet of the run is very clear, from 10-15 feet wide, and the bottom is sandy.  The lower part 250 feet of the run is often obstructed, is a few inches deeper, and is more muddy.  After about 450 feet, the run is joined by the run from the more southern spring.  This run is not navigable and must be waded except in times of high water.

    The southern spring is similar in appearance, also with three flows from small limestone openings/cavities/grottos.  The bottom is rocky and sandy, and the clear water is only about 3 inches deep.  The run from this fork is about 250 feet long, from 2-12 inches deep, and is much obstructed and barely navigable by canoe except in times of high water.  Near the main spring is a cylindrical concrete structure roughly three feet in diameter and 5 feet high.

    The two runs join at the mouth of the southern spring and flow together about 100 feet to Econfina Creek.  A canoe livery company has its launch along this lower stretch, with a building nearby.  The runs are completely canopied and together form a roughly Y-shaped spring group.  Along the runs of the spring, the banks are very low.  At the head of each spring, however, is a limestone bank of 3-6 feet.

    Use/Access
    Good access from SR 20, and very easy access directly into the spring run from the canoe livery, albeit for a fee.
    Except for the concrete structure in the southerly spring'”possibly some drain system?'”there is no apparent use of the springs which are somewhat difficult to get to by canoe and wading.

    Personal Impressions
    The authors were very pleased to find the springs.  Although they are clearly known to the adjacent canoe livery and local inhabitants, they are not recorded in any publication the authors have found or on the State of Florida list of springs.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Pitt Spring Recreation Area
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     

     Williford Spring
     Washington County

     Summary of Features
     Scale'”2nd magnitude
     Scenery'”excellent
     How Pristine?'”retaining wall and picnic area at site
     Swimming'”fine
     Protection'”excellent
     Crowds'”small
     Access'”good'”primarily by boat
     Facilities'”good, very good nearby
     Safety'”good
     Scuba'”limited
     Cost'”free

    Quick Directions
    Off State Road 20 about seven miles west of where it intersects with U.S. 231 north of Panama City.  Put canoe in on right where SR20 crosses Econfina Creek and paddle about ¾ mile upstream past Pitt Spring and Sylvian (or Sullivan) Spring run on the left.

    Full Directions
    Williford Spring is a paddle of around half a mile or 20 minutes upstream from where SR 20 crosses the Econfina River.  It is 15 minutes upstream from Sylvian (or Sullivan) Spring.  The 800-foot spring run is after the steep bluffs rise on the west bank.  There was a rope swing at the mouth of the run (on the SW corner).  From Panama City, drive north on U.S. 231, then turn left onto County Road 2301 which goes through Bayou George, becomes Blue Spring Road, and intersects State Road 20 ¼ mile east of the bridge over Econfina Creek.  Follow above directions from there.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring pool lies at the head of the 800-foot winding run, and water flows from a cave opening 10-15 feet deep.  The spring has a strong boil and forms an egg-shaped pool of about 60'™ by 40'™.  Water flows upward toward the land to the west, and the bottom is sandy.  The cave entrance is a crevice perhaps 7 feet long and 2-3 feet high.  The springhead is blue in the sunlight when the river is not high, but can also have a greenish tint.  There is a retaining wall on the west side of the spring.

    The run is very clear, about 15 feet wide, has a sandy bottom, and is about three feet deep.  After about 2/3 its length, the run splits around an oval island and flows into Econfina Creek on both sides of the island.  Just before the run splits and over the water is the remnant of a fence that had been strung over the run to block navigation and access to the spring from the river.

    On the south bank of the Williford run, there are a whole series of additional seeps and springs--the authors walked for a couple or hundred yards along the run and lost count of the opening, fractures, and fissures from which water rose to the surface and flowed into the run.  The flow ranged from trickle to one with several gallons per second in this area of exposed limestone and karst.

    Another small spring run enters the Williford run near its mouth on the south side of the island'”see description for Williford Run Spring.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    Williford is a very attractive and appealing swimming hole.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Pitt Spring Recreation Area
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area

    Contact Information
    Northwest Florida Water Management District
    850-539-5999
     
     

    Williford Run Spring
    Washington County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd magnitude (est.)
    Scenery'”excellent
    How Pristine?'”completely pristine
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”excellent
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”fair, by canoe and wading
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”good
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    Off State Road 20 about seven miles west of where it intersects with U.S. 231 north of Panama City.  Put canoe in where SR20 crosses Econfina Creek and paddle about ¾ mile upstream past Pitt Spring and Sylvian (or Sullivan) Spring run on the left.  The spring is near the mouth of the more southerly Williford Spring run on the south/left side.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is a small but strong flow from the base of a dramatic (for Florida) limestone bluff.  The bluff is approximately 30 feet high, and waters issues from a limestone cavity/grotto.  The water is clear and only a few inches deep.  The spring forms a curving 200-foot run 15 feet wide, about 3 inches deep, and with a sandy bottom and many obstructions.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    This is a lovely spring and a surprising find in that is it not recorded in any literature or list the authors have seen despite it proximity to so many other well-known springs.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Pitt Spring Recreation Area
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area

    Contact Information
    Northwest Florida Water Management District
    850-539-5999
     
     

     Sylvian (or Sullivan) Springs Group
     Washington County

     Summary of Features
     Scale'”2nd magnitude (estimated)
     Scenery'”excellent
     How Pristine?'”very pristine
     Swimming'”poor
     Protection'”excellent
     Crowds'”some on warm weekends
     Access'”fine, boat or foot
     Facilities'”none at site, very good nearby
     Safety'”good
     Scuba'”no
     Cost'”free

    Directions
    Off State Road 20 about seven miles west of where it intersects with U.S. 231 north of Panama City.  Put canoe in on right just before SR20 crosses Econfina Creek and paddle 1/10 upstream past Pitt Spring to Sylvian Spring run on the left.  The spring may also be reached on foot from the parking lot at the Pitt Spring Recreation Area.  The spring is approximately two minutes by foot.

    From Panama City, drive north on U.S. 231, then turn left onto County Road 2301 which goes through Bayou George, becomes Blue Spring Road, and intersects State Road 20 ¼ mile east of the bridge over Econfina Creek.  Follow above directions from there.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Approximately 8 springs flow from limestone cavities at or near the western rim of a circular spring pool.  The pool is about 125 feet in diameter and is circular.  There is a small forested island (about 25 feet across) in the center of the pool, which is 1-3 feet deep and has very clear water except in times of drought or elevated river levels.  One spring flows swiftly from the bank at the SW end of the pool.  The flow from another spring about 250 feet to the south empties into the extreme SW corner of the Sylvian Springs pool (see Unnamed Spring in next description).  Six other vents, boils, and seeps flow from either the bank or openings in the limestone near the bank in the NW end.  These flows are nearly in a line, are within a space of about 30 feet, and constitute the primary water source that forms the spring basin and Sylvian Springs.

    When JF visited in April 2000, the river was several feet below normal, and two of the vents produced prominent raised (6') boils.  On a visit in September 2001, the boils were only about half as high.  The spring run forks around the island on its way to Econfina Creek about 200 feet to the east, creating an attractive and heavily wooded pool.  The bottom is sandy.  On an earlier visit to the spring (12/97), on a cloudy day when the river was several feet above normal, the run to Sylvian was partially blocked by fallen trees, and entry required portage at the mouth of the run.  The area in high water was tangled, and the authors spotted only one vent at the NW end under those conditions.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    Different seasons and water levels create stark contrasts at this spring.  In times of high water, the spring is dark and feels wild, remote, and almost creepy.  On a warm, sunny day with low water, it is bright, clear, and inviting.

    Local Springiana
    Because of its land access and proximity to Pitt Spring, the area around the spring can be crowded on warm days.  There are a couple of spots along the river near the mouths of the spring run that are used to jump from trees into the river.

    Nearby Springs

     Other Nearby Natural Features
    Pitt Spring Recreation Area
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area

    Contact Information
    Northwest Florida Water Management District
    850-539-5999
     
     


     Unnamed Sylvian Tributary Spring
     Washington County

     Summary of Features
     Scale'”3rd magnitude (estimated)
     Scenery'”very good
     How Pristine?'”very pristine
     Swimming'”no
     Protection'”excellent
     Crowds'”none
     Access'”very good
     Facilities'”none, very good nearby
     Safety'”fair-good
     Scuba'”no
     Cost'”free

    Directions
    Just off State Road 20 about seven miles west of where 20 intersects with U.S. 231 north of Panama City.  Turn into Pitt Spring Recreation Area immediately past the bridge and park in lot 75 feet from Pitt Spring.  The spring may be reached on foot a short distance north of the parking lot between Pitt and Sylvian Springs.

    From Panama City, drive north on U.S. 231, then turn left onto County Road 2301 which goes through Bayou George, becomes Blue Spring Road, and intersects State Road 20 ¼ mile east of the bridge over Econfina Creek.  Follow above directions from there.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    This small spring creates a long, dark pool about 8 feet wide, 35 feet long, and 2 feet deep (above the vent) and flows about 250 feet into the southwest end of the Sylvian Springs pool and thence to Econfina Creek.  On the date of visit (April 2000) the water in the pool was somewhat dark and no boil was visible.  However, water was clearly flowing from the pool to the north.  The trail goes right past the spring, which lies in an area of heavy forest.

    Use/Access
    No utilization, and the spring is not particularly scenic.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Pitt Spring Recreation Area
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area

    Contact Information
    Northwest Florida Water Management District
    850-539-5999
     
     

    Other Unnamed Spring Near Sylvian Springs Group
     Washington County

     Summary of Features
     Scale'”3rd magnitude (estimated)
     Scenery'”very good
     How Pristine?'”very pristine
     Swimming'”no
     Protection'”excellent
     Crowds'”none
     Access'”very good
     Facilities'”none, very good nearby
     Safety'”good
     Scuba'”no
     Cost'”free

    Directions
    Off State Road 20 about seven miles west of where it intersects with U.S. 231 north of Panama City.  The spring may  be reached on foot from the parking lot at the Pitt Spring Recreation Area.  The spring is approximately two minutes by foot--follow the trail by the trail sign which is about 75 feet from Pitts Spring.  The spring is just past (north) of the Unnamed Sylvian Tributary Spring on the left (west) side of the path before the main pool for Sylvian.  From Panama City, drive north on U.S. 231, then turn left onto County Road 2301 which goes through Bayou George, becomes Blue Spring Road, and intersects State Road 20 ¼ mile east of the bridge over Econfina Creek.  Follow above directions from there.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    This  spring flows from a small limestone opening.  Water from the spring is clear, 1-3 inches deep, and forms a creek that flows south and west.  The creek goes under State Road 20 through a pipe and flows into Econfina Creek on the south side of the highway.  The location of the precise spot where the spring run intersects Econfina Creek is not known.  The headspring area is forested, and the creek is 3-5 feet wide.  The trail goes right past the spring, which is set about 4 feet lower than the trail.

    Use/Access
    No utilization.  The spring is somewhat difficult to spot, but is only a few feet away from the trail.

    Local Springiana
    While the spring is not especially attractive--it is quite small--it is intesting in a hydrological and geographical sense.  The trail beside it seems to be an elevational divide.  On one side, the Sylvian Springs Group and the Unnamed Sylvian Tributary Spring flow about 150 feet into Econfina Creek to the east.  This little spring, which is no more than a few feet away, flows the opposite direction and perhaps as far as 1/4 mile to the Creek to the south and west.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Pitt Spring Recreation Area
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area

    Contact Information
    Northwest Florida Water Management District
    850-539-5999
     
     


     Pitt Spring
     Bay County

     Summary of Features
     Scale'”3rd magnitude
     Scenery'”fine
     How Pristine?'”developed recreation area with retaining wall and manmade barriers preventing water access
     Swimming'”very good
     Protection'”very good
     Crowds'”overrun on warm weekends
     Access'”excellent
     Facilities'”very good
     Safety'”good to very poor, depending on the crowds
     Scuba'”no
     Cost'”free

    Directions
    Just off State Road 20 about seven miles west of where 20 intersects with U.S. 231 north of Panama City.  Turn into Pitt Spring Recreation Area immediately past the bridge and park in lot 75 feet from the spring.  From Panama City, drive north on U.S. 231, then turn left onto County Road 2301 which goes through Bayou George, becomes Blue Spring Road, and intersects with State Road 20 ¼ mile east of the bridge over Econfina Creek.  Follow above directions from there.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is circular, about 40-50 feet in diameter, and on sunny days when the river is not high, can be a brilliant blue.  Under other conditions, the water can have a greenish tint but is usually blue over the vent.  The bottom of the spring is funnel-shaped.  The vent is about 10 feet deep, has a small fissure, and tosses sand and little purple snail shells underwater.  The spring run exits from the east end of the pool about 50 feet to the river.   The shallow run can be waded and is about 60 feet long.  The bottom of the pool and run is white sand and limestone.  A stone wall has been constructed around the perimeter of the spring pool to control erosion, and there is wooden decking around the edge of the pool.  Large limestone boulders have been placed in the run.  The water is very clear except in times of high water or heavy usage by waders and swimmers.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana
    Clearly a long-time local hangout, the spring has been greatly 'œimproved' by the Water Management District.  But while the rock retaining wall was a necessity to prevent damage and erosion to the spring, a measure of the spring'™s natural character was lost.

    Personal Impressions

    Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features
    Pitt Spring Recreation Area
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area

    Contact Information
    Northwest Florida Water Management District
    850-539-5999
     
     


     Fenced Spring 600'™ Upriver from Gainer
     Bay County

     Summary of Features
     Scale'”3rd magnitude (estimated)
     Scenery'”Good
     How Pristine?'”fence, otherwise completely unspoiled
     Swimming'”poor
     Protection'”unknown
     Crowds'”none
     Access'”difficult, canoe only
     Facilities'”none
     Safety'”fair
     Scuba'”unknown
     Cost'”free

    Directions
    Off State Road 20 about seven miles west of where it intersects with U.S. 231 north of Panama City.  Put canoe in on right where SR20 crosses Econfina Creek and paddle 1/3 mile downstream to small mouth of spring run on the right (west side).  The spring is perhaps 150 yards above Gainer Springs.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    A clear stream flowing into the river indicates the spring.  When visited by JF in August 2000, the run was canopied with branches and shrubs, and its run was blocked by branches and partially dammed.  The run is about 100 feet long and eight feet wide, and angles back upriver, paralleling Econfina Creek.  The land around the spring is dense forest and swampy.  The spring pool is circular and about 22 feet in diameter.  There was one clear vent that appeared to be 8 feet below the surface on date of visit, which was a time of low water.  The bottom was muddy and covered with fallen branches.

    Note:  This spring is not described in Springs of Florida (Rosenau et al., 1977) or in any other publication the authors have found.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    It felt a bit creepy pushing back the branches and practically porting into the spring, but the area was not posted so JF did it.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Pitt Spring Recreation Area
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     


     Gainer Springs Group
     Bay County

     Summary of Features
     Scale'”1st magnitude
     Scenery'”Good to excellent
     How Pristine?'”land cleared around springs
     Swimming'”fair
     Protection'”private
     Crowds'”can be crowded on warm weekends
     Access'”very good, canoe only
     Facilities'”none
     Safety'”good
     Scuba'”no
     Cost'”free

    Directions
    Off State Road 20 about seven miles west of where it intersects with U.S. 231 north of Panama City.  Put canoe in on right where SR20 crosses Econfina Creek and paddle 1/2 mile downstream to Gainer run/channel on the right (west side).

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The Gainer Springs run is literally a clear contrast to the darker Econfina Creek and cannot be missed on the right.  At the mouth of its run, it is nearly as wide as Econfina Creek.  It flows around a forested, manmade island of perhaps ½ acre in size.  the whole spring pool and island area ia about 300 feet long and 100-150 feet wide.

    There are 5 primary areas of spring flow along the edges of the spring basin.  Entering from the river to the north, the first spring lies in the NE corner of the pool.  It is a clear funnel-shaped vent about 7 feet deep that blows sand and snail shells in a small plume.  The limestone opening is only a few inches wide.  The second spring is just offshore from a small beach area and retaining wall in the north end of the pool.  It is very similar in appearance to the first spring, except slightly smaller and with a less powerful flow. (Note Scott et al., observed this second spring as being larger than the first, with a strong boil and a vent 1.5 feet wide [2002, p. 27]--it did not appear this way on the authors' visits.

    The third spring is about 20 feet to the left/west of the Spring #2 and consists of small flows from a recessed limestone bank or small grotto.  Spring #4 is a series of flows from limestone cavities in an enchanting recessed grotto at the NW corner of the pool.  Water flows up from exposed limestone in a luxuriantly vegetated cove about 18 feet in diameter.  Exiting SW around the island, there are other smaller flows and seeps (#5) from the high limestone bank into the run.

    In the areas on land above most of these springs--and especially behind the third spring and adjacent to the manmade beach and picnic pavilion--are a series of crevices and fissures that lead down from the uplands to the flow points.  The openings behind spring #3 are a spectacular--for Florida--line of openings in the limestone that march up the hill above the spring and are up to 25 feet deep, 50 feet long, and 10 feet across.  Water can be seen flowing downhill toward the spring vents at the bottom of these openings.  Smaller series of fissures and crevices lead down toward spring areas 1, 2, and 5.  The fissures are as dramatic as any in Florida.

    Note:  Scott et al., (2002, p. 26-28) bundle these springs with the nearby Emerald and McCormick Springs and classify them all part of the Gainer Springs Group.  This is in keeping with earlier classification by Roseneau et al., 1977, which did the same thing.  Locals have given different names to the three areas, as does this web site.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The large grotto is a gorgeous site, but ironically one that is immediately eclipsed by the even more beautiful Emerald Spring just around the bend.  Having several beautiful springs in one'™s back yard and others within spitting distance'”life could be worse.  The signs on the site are anything but welcoming, but one could enter the water and explore the springs as long as s/he kept off the land.

    The fissures and crevices are extraordinary, but visitors may not make landfall to see them.  The authors visited the site as part of a permitted field trip made by the Florida Springs Task Force in 2003.

    Nearby Springs


    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Pitt Spring Recreation Area
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     

     Emerald Spring
     Bay County

     Summary of Features
     Scale'”2nd magnitude
     Scenery'”excellent to outstanding
     How Pristine?'”very except for pipe drawing water
     Swimming'”good-very good
     Protection'”unknown
     Crowds'”busy on warm weekends
     Access'”very good, canoe only
     Facilities'”none
     Safety'”good
     Scuba'”yes
     Cost'”free

    Directions
    Off State Road 20 about five miles west of where it intersects with U.S. 231 north of Panama City.  Put canoe in on right where road crosses Econfina Creek and paddle 1/2 mile downstream just past the run to Gainer Springs.  Spring is on the right (west side).

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Just a few yards downriver on the same bank as Gainer Springs is Emerald Spring, a dramatic upwelling of clear water from the base of a limestone bluff.  Water flows powerfully upward adjacent to a sheer limestone wall perhaps 25 feet high.  Water flows from a limestone opening/vent that is several feet wide.  A PVC water pipe leading down a small cliff draws water from the spring for Patronis, a water bottling company.   When the river is at normal or low levels, the spring is very blue.  The water was dark when the authors visited one day in December when the river was high.  The spring is in a bend of the river, and the flow forms a pool area of about 50 by 60 feet with a sandy beach on the downstream side of the spring.  The pool was about 6 feet deep on date of visit in 2001.  Scott et al., note that there are "at least three other smaller vents issuing from the bank just above this spring" (2002, p. 27).

    Note:  Scott et al., (2002) bundle Emerald Spring with the nearby Gainer and McCormick Springs and classify them all part of the Gainer Springs Group.  This is in keeping with earlier classification by Roseneau et al., 1977, which did the same thing.  Locals have given different names to the three areas, as does this web site.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The pipe in the middle of the spring mars its natural appearance.  Otherwise, the spring is strikingly beautiful and pristine.  It is not known how much of the springflow is pumped.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Pitt Spring Recreation Area
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     


    McCormick Springs Group
    Bay County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude (estimated)
    Scenery'”fine
    How Pristine?'”completely unspoiled
    Swimming'”fair
    Protection'”unknown
    Wildlife'”very good
    Crowds'”some canoers on warm weekends
    Access'”very good, canoe only, moderately strenuous in low water
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”good
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    Off State Road 20 about five miles west of where it intersects with U.S. 231 north of Panama City.  Put canoe in on where road crosses Econfina Creek and paddle 0.6 mile downstream just past the run to Gainer Springs and Emerald Spring.  The McCormick Springs run is almost directly across the river from Emerald Spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at these springs, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Descriptions
    From Econfina Creek, the shallow (1-3 feet) McCormick run is about 300 yards in length and includes a fork with springs at the back of each prong.  The run ranges in width from 20 to 75 feet and is 1-3 feet deep.  Near the mouth of the run on the right (NE) side as you enter, a small spring flows from the limestone bank.  The spring at the right fork is about 175 yards from the river and is a clear and attractive cave entrance with a vent about 8 feet wide and narrowing like a funnel as it descends.  The main spring pool area is 20-30 feet in diameter and roughly circular.  Small fish congregate over the vent, which has a sand plume.  The bottom is sandy with fallen logs in the water.  Water over the vent was blue on the dates the authors visited in 1997-2000.

    Another, larger spring is 125 yards further back (NE) of the run.  It creates a pool about 30 feet in diameter and appeared to be over 12 feet deep.  A large-diameter submerged log is across the spring, the water of which is dark blue and with only fair visibility.  Yet another small spring flows into the back of this pool.  The run for this spring is about 30 feet in diameter, about a foot deep, is somewhat obstructed by limbs, has clear water, and terminates in a small circular spring pool (20 feet in diameter).  The pool is shallow except for the vent in the back corner which is about 5 feet deep and flow from a limestone cavity.

    Note:  Scott et al., (2002, p. 26-28) bundle these springs with the nearby Emerald and Gainer Springs and classify them all part of the Gainer Springs Group.  This is in keeping with earlier classification by Roseneau et al., 1977, which did the same thing.  Locals have given different names to the three areas, as does this web site.

    Use/Access

    Nearby Springs
    Walsingham Spring, Unnamed Econfina Creek-bed Spring, Glowing Spring, Washington Blue Spring Group, Williford Spring, Sylvian Springs Group, Gainer Springs Group, Pitt Spring, Williford Run Spring, Ponce de Leon Springs, Vortex Spring, Cypress Spring, Morrison Spring

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Pitt Spring Recreation Area
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     

     Unnamed Econfina Springs Below Emerald
     Bay County

     Summary of Features
     Scale'”3rd magnitude (estimated)
     Scenery'”Fine
     How Pristine?'”unspoiled
     Swimming'”no
     Protection'”unknown
     Crowds'”none
     Access'”canoe only
     Facilities'”none
     Safety'”very good
     Scuba'”no
     Cost'”free

    Directions
    Off State Road 20 about seven miles west of where it intersects with U.S. 231 north of Panama City.  Put canoe in on right where SR20 crosses Econfina Creek and paddle 2/3 mile downstream to two sets of springs on the right (west) side just before a large bend in the river to the left.  The spring is perhaps 250 yards below Emerald Springs.

    Spring Description
    Two sets of small springs are set about 20 feet from Econfina Creek in recessed banks of limestone.  Water flows from limestone cavities at the base of the banks and flows a few feet into the river.  There are several small flows and seeps in an attractive grotto-like setting.  The flow is only a few inches deep, and would likely be invisible in times of high water levels.  The first set of flows (3-4) is about 50 feet upriver of the second set of flows (2).

    Note:  These spring are not described in any other publication the authors have found.

    Use/Access

    Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features
    Pitt Spring Recreation Area
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     

    An Essay on St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
    In all the Big Bend, perhaps the most remote spot that can be reached by land is the slender strip of dunes, wind-twisted trees, scrub, and beach called the St. Joseph Peninsula.  Like the flexed arm of a 98-lb. weakling, the peninsula juts west and north out of Gulf County into the Gulf of Mexico.  It is 40 miles below Panama City and 110 miles from Tallahassee.  Also called Cape San Blas, the peninsula can be reached from U.S. 98 via County Road 30.

    The jewel of the peninsula is St. Joseph State Park.  The whole NW end'”10 miles long and a skinny 2,500 acres'”is preserved.  Until recently, nearly the entire peninsula was undeveloped.  Now, however, its charms are discovered, building is rampant, and the unprotected portion of the peninsula will soon look like St. George Island.

    There is so much to do in the park that it is hard to know where to start.  It doesn'™t just offer swimming, fishing, hiking, scalloping, boating, camping, bird and butterfly watching, sightseeing, biking, cabins, and opportunities for solitude'”it offers these things in superlative quality.   The peninsula forms a sheltered bay, and there are beaches on both sides.  In places, the two shores are only 150 yards apart.

    First the beaches.  You can walk for miles on the Gulf side and not see other land, manmade structures, or people.  The beaches are wide, and the white quartzite sand squeaks under your feet.  The water is not as clear as it is further west, but is still great for swimming and surf-fishing.

    Guarding the jungle behind the beaches like hunchbacked sentinels are the largest sand dunes in Florida.  Running continuously along the shore and rising as high as 40 feet, the dunes testify to the power of wind, water, and tide.  These awesome hulks are actually very fragile and easily damaged by people.  Walkways arch over them for protection and beach access.

    Trees just behind the dunes are pruned by wind and salt spray and dramatically stunted.  Full-grown pines, magnolias, and live oaks appear as shrubs, and gradually increase in height as one moves inland.  Salt marshes puddle the interior and are havens for fish fry, wading birds, and hawks.

    On the bay side, where water access is limited, there is a boat ramp and canoes for rent.  A trail just inside the park gate offers a glimpse of the different habitats by the bay.  Hardwoods and palms form a canopy that goes to the edge of the water, and poison ivy leaves are the size of plates.  Snakes and raccoons scuttle out of sight, while birds and squirrels announce themselves loudly.  209 bird species have been recorded in the park, which is on the fall migration routes of the peregrine falcon and monarch butterfly.

    There are three campgrounds.  One is primarily for RVs.  An open, sun-blasted area, it is for people who bring their own climate with them.  A nicer, shaded campground is for tents and smaller campers.  Both sites offer water, electricity, bathrooms, and showers. The primitive camping area and eight cabins are on the bay side.  Fully furnished, the two-story cabins are on the water and very attractive.  Cabins and campsites are reasonably priced and may be booked up to 11 months in advance.

    The paved road ends just past the cabins and leads to the two best trails in the park.  One loops 1/3 mile to the Gulf and right through the dunes.  You'™ll see the shifting sand swallowing the boardwalk and wind fences and wind up on a deserted part of the beach.  The other trail is a 14-mile round-trip hike up the middle of the peninsula to St. Joseph'™s Point.  The trail is sandy and rugged, and many who use it camp overnight along the way.  Be sure to bring plenty of food and water if you go, and be prepared to see a variety of habitats and the wildest slice of the park.

    Sunscreen is advised in all seasons and is an absolute must in warm weather.  No-see-ums and mosquitoes are frightful in spring through fall, so be sure to bring repellent as well.  No longer a secret, St. Joseph'™s is a crown jewel in Florida'™s Big Bend.
     
     

    Holmes Creek Springs

    Holmes Creek flows from Alabama into Florida and travels 50-60 miles in the state before joining the Choctawatchee River in Washington County.  The Creek serves as the eastern boundary of Holmes County and passes through only one incorporated community'”Vernon.   Above Brock Crossing (where Highway 276A crosses the creek 8 miles above Vernon), Holmes Creek is unnavigable except in times of heavy rainfall.

    Cypress Springs is a standout among the springs along Holmes Creek'”a large second-magnitude spring with exceptionally (man-assisted) clear water and a small cavern system.  Nearby Beckton Spring has a large basin as well.

    As recorded by Dr. Fred Thompson from the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida, there are three endemic species of snails found in the Holmes Creek drainage system--Elimia n. sp., Spilochlamys n.sp., and Lyogyrus n.sp.  The Cypress Springs run contains two of these species.  In his report, Dr. Thompson notes that Holmes Creek is richer in freshwater snail species than any other river in the Florida Panhandle and second only to the massive St. Johns River and its watershed (Thompson, 2000).  Four other snail species are only found in Holmes Creek and/or the nearby Chipola or Choctawatchee Rivers.  These small snail species are very vulnerable to environmental degredation and could be rendered extinct by  changes in the quality of the Holmes Creek watershed which they inhabit.

    The Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD) now owns the land along Cypress Springs run and extending several miles north on either side of Holmes Creek.  Few people use the Creek above Cypress Spring, which has undergone logging.  However, William Shirling, who grew up in the area and has explored Holmes Creek extensively, has identified dozens of small springs, seeps, and sand boils in the area between the Cypress Spring run and the bridge at Highway 276A.  The NWFWMD has formally cataloged and mapped these flow points, and basic information on them from Mr. Shirling is included below with permission.

    The Holmes Creek springs on the list below are ordered as the lie from from north to south.  The fuller descriptions are provided in alphabetical order.
     
     

    Holmes Creek Springs, Seeps, and Boils (partial list)
    Washington County

    #     Name                   Description                                                                           Lat.            Long.
    1     Burn Out Spring     1st Holmes Creek spring; boils out from limestone boulders     N30'™40.922 W85'™38.761
    2     Unnamed               Spring pool in wetlands                                                           N30'™40.652 W85'™38.754
    3     Unnamed               Numerous seeps                                                                     N30'™40.536 W85'™38.848
    4     Unnamed               Seeps and boils in creek run                                                    N30'™40.478 W85'™38.985
    5     Unnamed               Numerous seeps and boils in creek run                                    N30'™40.439 W85'™38.946
    6     Unnamed               Large area of seeps and boils in wetland area                          N30'™40.388 W85'™39.053
    7     Mullet Spring         Large seep spring, numerous seeps merge to form spring         N30'™40.165 W85'™39.321
    8     Burnt Sock Landing Springs Numerous boils in creek run                                     N30'™40.107 W85'™39.741
    9     Unnamed               Large limestone ravine with boils and seeps                             N30'™40.04 W85'™39.77
    10   Unnamed               Numerous seeps over large wetland area, much exposed limestone N30'™39.95 W85'™39.922
    11   Unnamed               Seep spring over large area of wetland/floodplain, much exposed limestone N30'™39.959 W85'™40.058
    12   Unnamed               Numerous seeps over large area of wetland                             N30'™39.889 W85'™40.234
    13   Unnamed               Seep spring                                                                             N30'™39.767 W85'™40.314
    14   Unnamed               Seeps on both sides of creek                                                   N30'™39.681 W85'™40.30
    15   Unnamed               Small spring pool and many seeps over large area of wetland    N30'™39.611 W85'™40.484
    16   Unnamed               Boils in small slough and creek run, plus seeps                          N30'™39.653 W85'™40.662
    17   Unnamed               Seep spring                                                                             N30'™39.623 W85'™40.683
    18   Unnamed               Boil in creek run, 30-inch boil in limestone, other small boils     N30'™39.38 W85'™40.846
    19   Unnamed               Boils in creek run, also seep spring                                          N30'™39.235 W85'™41.296
    20   Unnamed               Spring pool with visible vent and also seeps                              N30'™39.131 W85'™41.285
    21   Unnamed               Large spring pool located 300'™ off creek, two distinct boils
    22   Unnamed               Large (150'™ diameter) and deep (30') pool on right/east bank above Miller'™s Ferry
    23   Unnamed               Small spring and pool with single vent on right/east bank above Miller'™s Ferry
    24   Unnamed               Large (100'™ diameter) spring ½ mile upstream of Live Oak Island
     
     

     Beckton Spring
     Washington County

     Summary of Features
     Scale'”2nd magnitude (?)
     Scenery'”good
     How Pristine?'”land cleared near spring, house above spring, dock in spring pool
     Swimming'”fair to good
     Protection'”unknown
     Crowds'”some visitors on warm weekends
     Access'”good, boat only
     Facilities'”none
     Safety'”good
     Scuba'”yes
     Cost'”free

    Quick Directions
    On Holmes Creek north of Vernon.  The spring may be reached by boat upriver on Holmes Creek from Vernon, 1/4 mile downriver from the public boat ramp at Big Pine Landing, 2-3 miles northeast of Vernon off SR 277.

    Full Directions
    The spring is about a mile downstream of Cypress Spring on the west side of Holmes Creek.  It is about 1/4 mile downriver from the public boat ramp at Big Pine Landing mentioned in the quick directions.  After the boat ramp, look for a dock, with no other docks nearby, on the east side.  Look for two flows on the right (west) side that go into the spring pool.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring pool is oval in shape and perhaps 175 feet across.  Water flows into the NE end of the spring from two channels off Holmes Creek.  On date of visit in May 2002, the water in the basin was fairly clear, and the boulders and two vents could be seen on the bottom at depths of 20-25 feet.  The depth of the pool is now approximately 35 feet, and there is a large cavern entrance that did not exist in the past.  Water flows from two opening amidst boulders and smaller limestone rocks.

    There was a mild slick on the surface above the main vent, which was 2-3 feet across.  Most of the rest of the bottom was sandy with some vegetation.  There was water cabbage and water "parsley" on the surface.   The combined flow from the spring and the two channels that feed it flow about 900'™ into Holmes Creek.  According to a long-time resident, the spring is this clear or clearer about 8 months each year.  Land rises up perhaps 20 feet above the spring, and has been partially cleared. There is a house above the spring.

     Use/Access

    Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area

    In May 2004, the following article appeared in the fosterfolly news:

    Harold Vickers arrested for damage at Becton Springs
    Washington County resident Harold Vickers was arrested May 13th on charges of Criminal Mischief (Felony) and Vandalism to a Cave (Misdemeanor).

    Investigating Officer Tom Harris, in his complaint, stated that Vickers, with the use of SCUBA divers, removed and damaged limestone and other naturally occurring rock structures from the springhead at Becton Springs, a soverign submerged land which belongs to the State of Florida.

    In his complaint Harris stated,"By altering the springhead Vickers has increased the flow of water into the Holmes Creek ecosystem that supports at least one protected species of snail.  By comparing sketches and photos taken by DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) and other witnesses in 2000 and photos taken in 2003 that clearly indicate the alteration to the springhead and cave.  An estimate was obtained to return the spring to its year 2000 condition.  This estimate, which includes the return of limestone, would be in excess of $1,000.

    Harris said according to DEP recored, Vickers has in the past altered a Florida spring (Cypress Springs) for commercial gain and the alterations made to Becton Springs are similar and appear to be for the same commercial purpose.

    In his report Harris noted that Vickers did not have written permission from the State of Florida to make any alteration to Becton Springs.

    The complain also states that witnesses, including DEP Biologists and Environmental Sciences Specialists, along with a member of Florida State University in Tallahassee, have given sworn statements and taken photographs that they have inspected Becton Springs and found that the spring had been damaged and it appeared small hand tools may have been used.

    Harris sited Florida Statutes 806.13 and 810.02 in the complaint.
     
     


    Brunson Landing Springs
     Washington County

     Summary of Features
     Scale'”2nd magnitude
     Scenery'”good
     How Pristine?'”very pristine
     Swimming'”fair-good in main spring
     Protection'”unknown
     Crowds'”some swimming at main spring
     Access'”somewhat difficult, by foot only
     Facilities'”none at springs
     Safety'”fair to good
     Scuba'”possible at main spring
     Cost'”free

    Directions
    On Holmes Creek north of Vernon.  From the main intersection in Vernon, drive north on State Road 79, after crossing the bridge over Holmes Creek, continue 1/10 mile and then turn left (east) onto County road 278.  Go about three miles, then turn left onto Dorch Circle.  Go about one block then bear left onto Brunson Landing Springs Road and continue 3/4 mile to the landing.  Facing the river, walk to the right (upriver) on a trail along the river.  Bear right at an island and continue to follow the path (perhaps 900 feet total) to the three springs.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Three springs make up the Brunson Landing Springs Group.  The first or most downstream spring is an oval seep pool about 30 feet long, 20 feet wide, and a few inches deep.  Water in the pool is clear, and the bottom is very muddy.  Water flows from the seep pool into the little run separating the island from the land.  The second pool is also a seep pool and is circular--about 12 feet in diameter on date of visit in May 2002.  Water in the pool was clear and only a few inches deep, a mild brown and muddy sand boil could be seen in the center of the pool.  Trickling run from this pool flowed into the first seep pool.

    The third spring forms a pool that is about 35 feet across and approximately 20 feet deep.  Water in the spring is clear and dark blue.  Limestone, fallen tree trunks, limbs, and tree roots are visible in the pool.  There is a platform in a tree next to the pool.  The spring forms a run that forks to create the island and to join the small flows from the other two springs.

    All three springs lie in an area of dense floodplain forest, and mush of the trail was muddy on date of visit in May 2002.  The springs are all canopied and have daek material on their bottoms, reducing visibility.  In the large spring, however, some sunlight reached the pool creating the deep blue hue.

     Use/Access

    Local Springiana
    Brunson Landing is a traditional site of baptisms.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     


    Clemmons Spring
     Washington County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd magnitude (estimated)
    Scenery'”very good-fine
    How Pristine?'”house above spring, otherwise very natural
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”difficult, by water only
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”fair
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    On Holmes Creek north of Vernon.  From center of Vernon, go 2-3 miles NE on State Road 277 to public boat ramp at Big Pine Landing.  Put in boat and go perhaps (directions are imprecise because authors did not make notes) 1 mile downriver.  Look for mouth of Clemmons Run on left (east) side of the river.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    The spring forms a large oval pool that is about 300 feet long and 20-80 feet wide.  Water in the pool is about 6 feet deep on average and is a milky blue and fairly clear.  Several sand boils are visible in the pool; the largest are several feet across.  Fish were observed in the pool on date of visit in May 2002, and the bottom was partly covered in vegetation.  The bank rises steeply perhaps 45 feet above the pool on the east side.  There is wooded peninsula on the west side of the pool, which is a floodplain for Holmes Creek to the west.  The pool terminates in a run that is about 300 feet long.  At the mouth of the run, the water is only a few inches deep and the run is about 8 feet wide.

    There appears to be a small spring pool adjacent to the mouth of the run behind a mound of sand and vegetation.  The pool is circular and was about 10 feet in diameter on date of visit.  The authors did not make a close observation of this probable spring pool.

     Use/Access

    Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     


    Cypress Springs
     Washington County

     Summary of Features
     Scale'”2nd magnitude
     Scenery'”excellent
     How Pristine?'”shore platform near spring, manmade beach area, berm around spring, water diverted from spring, boulders removed from spring, sand/fill spilling into run
     Swimming'”outstanding
     Protection'”poor
     Crowds'”small
     Access'”good, by water only
     Safety'”good
     Scuba'”yes, from boats
     Cost'”free

    Directions
    From Vernon, drive NE on Highway 277 2-3 miles to the public park at Big Pine Landing on Holmes Creek.  Paddle upriver (perhaps a mile) to mouth of Cypress Springs run on the left and up run 1/4 mile to the spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Set in a natural depression among deep woods and floodplain, Cypress Spring is circular'”approximately 120 feet in diameter, up to 35 feet deep, with a cave and two pronounced (one very pronounced) boils and at least one other vent.  When the authors visited the spring in the late 1990s, the depth of the pool was about 18 feet.  The main flow is from a cave entrance in the middle of the spring pool.  The cave extends more than 70 feet in a tunnel that is 40 feet wide and 15 feet high (DeLoach, 1997, p. 130).  At all the times the authors visited, except once when the river was very high (December 1997), Cypress was exceptionally clear and intensely blue over the spring pool.  Underwater visibility can exceed 100 feet.   The spring creates a clear run equal in width to the basin that flows about ¼ mile into Holmes Creek.

    The second vent is located at the downstream edge of the spring pool, is about 10 feet deep, and issues from a smaller fissure about 15 feet long.  Fallen cypress trees lie in the spring near the main vent.  The bottom is strewn with large boulders and tree limbs and is rocky.  When the authors visited the spring in the mid- and late 1990s, there were large sandy and underwater grassy areas in the spring pool--these are now gone as a result of the bottom being excavated.  In the shallower area, attractive water grasses formerly grew from the white sand, bending downstream with the current.

    A third vent is now visible in the pool that the authors had not seen before the excavation--it may have been exposed when boulders were removed from the bottom or they may have previously missed seeing it.  A berm surrounds much of the spring to divert the flow from nearby Piney Woods Springs and run-off from flowing into the spring pool and into a manmade side channel.  This diverted flow enters the Cypress run just below the spring through the mouth of a 60" by 80" concrete pipe.

    Use/Access

     Local Springiana Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     

    Galloway Spring
     Washington County

     Summary of Features
     Scale'”3rd magnitude, estimated
     Scenery'”very good
     How Pristine?'”very pristine
     Swimming'”good
     Protection'”unknown
     Crowds'”some swimming
     Access'”by boat or by land with permission
     Facilities'”none
     Safety'”good
     Scuba'”unknown
     Cost'”free

    Directions
    From Vernon, drive north on State Road 79.  Cross the bridge over Holmes Creek, continue 1/10 mile and then turn left (east) onto County road 278.  Go about 10 miles.  Look for metal barn on right and an unmarked private road on the left.  turn left and follow the road across the private property until you reach NWFWMD land by water.  Walk to the left up the spring run to reach the spring.

    Description
    The authors have not visted this spring, but have seen a photograph of it at the following web site address:

    www.floridasprings.org/protection/success/

    Based on the photograph, the spring appears to be roughly circular and perhaps 100 feet in diameter.  Water in the spring is clear and blue-green, and the spring lies in a floodplain of Holmes Creek in a heavily wooded area.  A swim/dive platform is in the middle of the spring pool, and submerged logs are visible.  The spring flows into Holmes Creek.

     Use/Access

    Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     


    Hightower Springs
     Washington County

     Summary of Features
     Scale'”low 2nd magnitude (estimated)
     Scenery'”good
     How Pristine?'”small park area and boat ramp near spring
     Swimming'”fair
     Protection'”very good
     Crowds'”some swimming and picnicking and regular use of boat ramp at site
     Access'”excellent
     Facilities'”good
     Safety'”very good
     Scuba'”no
     Cost'”free

    Directions
    On Holmes Creek south of Vernon.  From the main intersection in Vernon, drive south on State Road 79 for about 2 miles.  Turn right (west) onto Hightower Road and drive short distance to Hightower Springs Landing and the spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring pool is roughly guitar-shaped, with "neck" being the spring run that flow into the nearby Chipola River.  The pool is about 35-50 feet across and about 125 feet long.  Water flows from approximately 10 visible sand boils or clusters of sand boils.  Depths in the pool are 3-5 feet except at the boils which are 6-8 feet deep.  The boils vary in size fromjust a few inches across to one cluster near the middle of the pool that is perhaps 8 by 12 feet across.  The sand boils are blue-white, and the bottom is otherwise muddy or covered in vegetation.  Water in the pool is very clear.  Small fish were observed in the spring.

    The springs lie in a low area along Holmes Creek amid dense floodplain forest except for the cleared parking, picnic, and boat ramp area.  On date of visit in May 2002, the bank was about four feet high.  The spring forms a run that winds about 200 feet through dense forest before entering the Chipola River.  The run is 6-15 wide and one foot deep.

     Use/Access

    Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area

    For More Information, Contact
    Northwest Florida Water Management District
    850-539-5999
     
     

    Jack Paul's Springs
     Washington County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude (estimated)
    Scenery'”very good-fine
    How Pristine?'”cleared land above, and road and along springs
    Swimming'”fair-good
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”time-consuming, by water only
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”good
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    On Holmes Creek north of Vernon.  From center of Vernon, go south on State Road 79 about 2 miles and then turn right (west) onto Two Creek Boulevard.  Continue 1/2 mile, then turn right onto Keen Kutter Road and proceed to boat ramp on Holmes.  Go upriver about 1.5 miles and look for mouth of Jack Paul Spring run on the right.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    At least three spring flows form a half-mile run that discharges into Holmes Creek.  The main springs lie at the head of the run and consist of two limestone openings at depths of about 10 feet.  The larger opening is 6-7 feet in diameter and creates a large (10 feet across) and strong boil on the surface.  The smaller opening is about 60% as big, and its limestone was more difficult to see.  Both issue clear, blue-green water.  The springs form a semicircular pool about 35 feet wide and run of roughly equal width.

    The third vent is about 300 feet downstream of the head of the run.  It is limestone opening at a depth of about 10 feet is and 3 by 5 feet in diameter.  It issues clear blue water that is a contrast to the green vegetation around it,and creates a good boil on the surface.  There is a large cypress stump on the bank nearby.

    The bottom of the run is mostly covered in water plants and algae, with some sandy and muddy areas.  The run varies in depth from 1-8 feet (averages about 5 feet), and sections are partially obstructed by fallen trees.  Large grass carp were observed as well as mullet, turtles, and minnows.  Much of the run is paralleled one one side by a raised bank (about 4 feet) with a dirt road leading from the landowner's house to the springhead.  Land on this side is higher and drier than land on the other (river) side which consists of floodplain forest.  The upper portion of the run is sunny, and the lower portion is completely canopied.

     Use/Access

    Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     


    Piney Woods Spring
     Washington County

     Summary of Features
     Scale'”4th magnitude (estimated)
     Scenery'”fair
     How Pristine?'”flow blocked, undergoing restoration
     Swimming'”no
     Protection'”good
     Crowds'”none
     Access'”none, private property

    Directions
    Near Holmes Creek north of Vernon.  From the main intersection in Vernon, drive north on State Road 79 for about three miles.  At old entrance to Cypress Springs, turn right onto dirt road.  Spring is on private property to the left of the road.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    The spring forms a 60-foot diameter pool in an area of lush secondary vegetation.  The pool is about 10 feet deep, and the water was fairly clear on date of visit in May 2002.  Springflow was a trickle due to the stopping up of the spring with manmade debris such as building materials and sealant.  The spring's tradition run is about a half-mile in length, and it joined the spring pool of Cypress Spring.  However, a berm built around Cypress spring diverts the spring flow to the far side of Cypress Spring and through a pipe into the Cypress run below the spring.

     Use/Access

    Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     


    Shellcracker Springs
     Washington County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd magnitude
    Scenery'”fair-good
    How Pristine?'”very pristine
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”fair-difficult, by water then foot
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”fair
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    On Holmes Creek north of Vernon.  From center of Vernon, go 2-3 miles NE on State Road 277 to public boat ramp at Big Pine Landing.  Put in boat and go about 1/4 mile upriver toward Cypress Springs. Look for two mouths of the short spring run on the right (east) where the river makes a big turn to the left.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    This spring group consists of several small flows and seeps in an area of deep floodplain forest adjacent to Holmes Creek.  The main spring pool is about oval and about 300 by 60 feet.  Some sand boils are visible in the main pool, which has a muddy bottom and a depth that appears to be shallow but which was difficult to determine visually because the water was not very clear and was a brownish color.

    Besides the boils in the main pool, the overall spring flow is supplemented by at least additional springs. One is at the upper end of the spring pool and forms a small seep pool.  This pool is oval, perhaps 8 by 15 feet, about 1 foot deep, and had a mile sand boil.  Another is on the right side (as one walks along the spring pool from the river downstream) and forms a small creek that flows about 100 feet from a grassy-swampy area into the spring pool.  The whole springs area is set in heavily vegetated floodplain forest.

    Note:  a short distance upriver of Shellcracker Springs, on the same (east) side of the river, are a number of small sand boils in the shallow water near the bank in the riverbed of Holmes Creek.

     Use/Access

    Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     


    Other Central Panhandle Springs

    Morrison Spring
    Walton County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”1st magnitude
    Scenery'”excellent to outstanding
    How Pristine?'”small beach area, store and outbuildings, underwater platform; spring very unspoiled
    Swimming'”fair to good
    Protection'”excellent
    Crowds'”small, mostly scuba divers
    Access'”very good
    Facilities'”good
    Safety'”good
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”$3 to swim; more to scuba

    Directions
    Morrison Spring is south of I-10 off exit 15. Go south 3.6 miles and turn left on State Road 81. Turn left (east) on County Road 181. Drive 1.6 miles and turn right onto Morrison Springs Road. You will soon come to a fork in the road. Keep left and proceed to the spring. Small signs for Morrison Springs are posted at each turn.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring lies in a low area. Its 250-foot-diameter pool is bounded by primeval cypress swamp and thickly wooded floodplain. The dirt parking area leads down to a sandy beach. The rest of the spring perimeter is bordered by swamp. The small beach itself shows the remains of cypress stumps from when the area was timbered.

    The water is very blue and clear, with excellent visibility except in times of high water. The temperature is about 67 degrees. As you snorkel out into the vent, which is in the middle of the basin, you pass over a dive platform that is about 25 feet deep. Scuba divers can be seen congregating here before they enter the cave. The large entrance has a large cypress log across it. The log is at a depth of 25-30 feet, and the cave entrance is another 60 feet further down. According to accounts, the cave extends over 300 feet deep. The 150-foot wide run flows for about a mile before joining the Choctawhatchee River.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana Personal Impressions

    The spring is in a lovely swampy setting. JF swam there alone, and felt creepy in the cold, deep water by himself. Morrison is a major challenge for free divers. Reaching the sign at the cave entrance that says, "Prevent Your Death: Do Not Proceed Further without" cavern dive training is a breath-holding accomplishment.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features

    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area
     
     


    Ponce de Leon Spring
    Holmes County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”Very good to fine
    How Pristine?'”retaining wall, modifications to pool and run, developed recreation area
    Swimming'”fine
    Protection'”excellent
    Crowds'”very crowded on warm weekends
    Access'”excellent
    Facilities'”very good
    Safety'”very good
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”$2 per car

    Directions
    The spring is in a state recreation area of the same name located on the edge of the town of Ponce de Leon. Exit Interstate 10 at Highway 81 (exit 16) and head north a minute or two until you reach U.S. 90. (Signs lead from I-10 to the spring.) Turn right, go over the bridge and then right again on to 181A, just before the small store/gas station. Go south, cross the railroad tracks, and you will soon see the entrance.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is enclosed by a rock and cement retaining wall, has a small weir at the downstream end, and creates a kidney-shaped swimming area of about 100 by 75 feet (Rosenau et al., 1977, p. 169). A short footbridge arches over the weir, which forms a small waterfall at the head of the run. The spring run flows for about 100 yards before joining Sandy Creek. A concrete slab jutting out over the water serves as a jumping platform. Water flows from two boils in the lower part of the pool, each about 12 feet deep and consisting of small vents. The spring has been observed to siphon'”to flow backward into the aquifer'”under flood conditions.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana Personal Impressions
    The spring and its recreation area are a fine spot to spend an afternoon, bring children, and have a picnic. Note that crowds can be heavy on summer weekends.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    St. Andrews State Recreation Area
    Falling Waters State Recreation Area

    Contact Information
    Ponce de Leon Springs State Recreation Area
    1130 State Park Road
    Chipley, FL 32428
    850-836-4281
     
     

    Vortex Spring
    Holmes County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”minimum 2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”fair
    How Pristine?'”heavily modified recreation/dive area
    Swimming'”excellent
    Protection'”private'”unknown
    Crowds'”crowded on warm summer weekends
    Access'”fine
    Facilities'”excellent
    Safety'”good
    Scba'”yes
    Cost'”$4 per person

    Directions
    Vortex is located about 5 miles north of Interstate 10 (exit 15) off State Road 81. Follow the signs on State Road 81 to the spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is set in a large, open, grassy area at the lower end of a gently sloping hill. The water, which is very clear and blue, drops 58 feet to a 9'™ x 12'™ cave entrance in the circular spring pool. The pool is 250 feet in diameter. Large fish, including striped bass and exotic carp, are abundant near the cave mouth. The spring pool has a diving bell and a concrete tunnel that are used by divers. The cave can be dived to a distance of 310 feet, where further passage is blocked by a steel grate. The passage has been measured to extend a total of 1,642 feet.  The spring run flows into nearby Otter Creek, which joins Sandy Creek a short distance upstream of Ponce de Leon Spring. Like nearby Morrison and Cypress Springs, Vortex is chilly'”67-68 degrees, and has an output of approximately 28 MGD.

    Use/Access

    Springiana Personal Impressions
    JF felt Vortex was an outstanding place to go for recreation.  From an aesthetic/natural viewpoint, it is not as attractive as less-developed spring sites; for example, the dive bell and concrete tunnel mar the spring area.  He did, however, like the killer rope swing.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features Contact Information
    Vortex Spring
    1517 Vortex Spring Lane
    Ponce de Leon, FL 32455
    850-836-4979
    Toll-Free 800-342-0640

     

    White Springs
    Liberty County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd magnitude
    Scenery'”poor
    How Pristine?'”manmade pool, recreation area, docks, etc.,  bottling plant on site
    Swimming'”no
    Accss'”closed to public
    Scuba'”no

    Directions
    The spring swim area is located about four miles east of Bristol off State Road 20. Turn south on the first paved road east of Telogia Creek, and spring is about 0.2 miles on the right (west).

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    According to Rosenau et al. (1977, p. 252-3) and a person working at the site, the spring is a series of seeps in a dammed-up area of White Branch, which flows into Telogia Creek.  The former swim area apparently contains some seeps, and there are others in another pool enclosed by a second earthen dam upstream.  No flow is visible except at the outlet of the swim area/earthen dam.  The water in the main pool (which is about 500 feet by 250 feet) is created by an earthen dam and is clear and cool.  When visited in 1997, the water appeared to be about 6 feet deep at the end of the dock.  Below the dam, White Branch flows into Telogia Creek.  Land rises up around the pool to a height of about 25 feet, and there was substantial erosion into the pool on dates of visit in the late 1990s.

    Use/Access

    White Springs is CLOSED

    Thank you for 52 years!

    Owner is retiring

    Water is being drawn from the pool.

    Personal Impressions
    For decades, the site was a classic (albeit not classy) country hang-out, and outsiders were subject to not-altogether-friendly looks.  When JF visited the spring in 1996 and 1998, he felt he had stepped back in time at least 40 years.  Everything about the place was ramshackle.  JF was not allowed to look upstream of the main pool, and was told most of the spring flow was from the upstream pool.  Exploring the lower end of the site, he saw some vividly bright colors just below the dam.  Thinking they were kayaks, he walked over to discover to his horror that the colors were from huge piles of garbage strewn in the creek.
     
     

    An Essay on Torreya State Park
    There'™s a place between Tallahassee and Marianna in North Florida that doesn'™t seem to belong. When you finally get there after traversing a series of ever-narrowing country roads, you wonder if perhaps you have somehow made a "Twilight-Zone" turn and wound up in north Georgia. The spot is Torreya State Park. Laid out during the Depression as a Civilian Conservation Corps project, Torreya is the last gasp of the Appalachians and a remarkable capsule of geologic features, plants, and animals found nowhere else.

    Tor-a'™-uh'”also pronounced Tor'™-e-uh'”lies along high bluffs on the Apalachicola River. Yes, you heard correctly, there is a 150-foot bluff above the river here and many ravines just as deep. Although surrounded by tree farms and ugly scrub, the park is lush with hardwoods and wildlife. Bald eagle and 100 other bird species nest in the trees, deer are commonly seen, and fox, beaver, bobcat, and the rare knobby-shelled Barbours map turtle may also be found.

    The park is named for the endangered and blighted Torreya tree. All the mature Torreyas'”a type of conifer'”were wiped out by disease in the 1960s. Only young trees remain today, and it is feared they will become afflicted as they mature. The tallest remaining specimen may be seen by the signpost for campsite #28. At a scrawny 20 feet, it'™s not much for gandering, but at least you can say you saw it.

    Despite the abundance of water in the park'”a frightening overabundance when the Apalachicola is in flood'”Torreya offers no swimming or boating, which may be why it is so seldom visited. In a half-dozen trips, I'™ve not seen more than 30 people altogether'”the size of a Saturday checkout line at Wal-Mart. The lack of crowds provides another treat for the visitor; silence and solitude that restore overtaxed senses.

    Start off with a look at or tour of the Gregory House. This ante-bellum mansion was first built in 1851 across the river. Its owner, Jason Gregory, ran a cotton plantation on slave labor. Gregory'™s lifestyle and dreams came to an end, however, with the Civil War and attacks of malaria and yellow fever that claimed the lives of his wife and nine of his ten children. The remaining daughter lived in the house until 1916.

    Offered to the state, the house was carefully dismantled, barged up-river, and reassembled in the park in 1935. From its porch you can gaze down across the river to land that stretches, untrammeled by development, for farther than the eye can focus.

    Torreya offers four camping areas, including one with facilities. Except for the old house, you must take to the trails to truly experience the park. Seven miles of River Trail loop around the park. This route, a National Recreational Trail, is the best way to see it all, but you can access portions of the trail as well as enjoy the short Weeping Ridge Trail by the main camping area. As you go up and down its shaded path, your ears will detect a very un-Florida-like sound. The volume increases until you round a corner and behold a 25-foot waterfall.

    The trail has taken you into one of the ravines that have eroded their way back from the river. Several slippery seeps combine to make a stream that pours--well, maybe tinkles is more apt--its way over a ledge and into a sinkhole. A large tree leans from the ledge, its roots falling like the water and holding it steadfast on the brink. 100 yards further are two other curious creeks. They appear and disappear, running now on and now below the surface and sounding like draining faucets. There is another interior loop trail of about 15 miles total, with a primitive camp area along the way.

    Back at the house, take the short trail that leads to the Apalachicola. You will pass gun pits from Confederate batteries that kept Union gunboats off the river. You really should see the river up close to appreciate its great silent power. The house is on a river-bend, and huge trees are regularly toppled by the force of water eroding the banks. As you struggle back up to the house (thinking you won'™t need to use the Stairmaster for a week), you'™ll see immense magnolias, beech, and sweet gum trees.

    Oh, I meant to mention: keep good mental or even written notes of the turns from Interstate 10 or SR20 to Torreya. You see, the signs direct you into the park, but not out of it--I learned that one the hard way. But if one is to be lost, Torreya is as good a place as any to be found.
     
     

    An Essay on the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines
    A while back I did a piece on Torreya State Park. A bit south of there is another spot well worth a visit and which can also use your help. From 1982-89, the Nature Conservancy acquired three tracts of land along the Apalachicola River. The northern portion is now part of the state park; the southerly parcels are known as the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve.

    Driving over the first time, my impression was, "why would anyone want to purchase this? The area is dominated by dry scrub and tree farms and is blazing hot much of the time. But once you get out of your car at the Preserve you'™ll see something funny'”tops of hardwoods sticking up out of canyons, and sand under your feet that looks like it came from the beach.

    Eons ago, this spot was a barrier island off the coast of Florida. Later, the land uplifted and the Apalachicola River sliced through the sand and clay, creating the state'™s most dramatic vistas from 150-foot bluffs. Steephead springs and creeks cut deep ravines through the ancient island. It is this land that the Conservancy has preserved, and one of Florida'™s best trails loops through five miles of it. The area is so beautiful that one eccentric scholar declared it was the site of the Garden of Eden.

    To get to the trail, drive to Bristol on highway 20. Go north 1.4 miles on state road 12, and turn left at the stone gates. There is a small parking area and a kiosk with information. Be sure to bring water, snacks, and--if you go in the warm weather--insect repellent.

    The trail begins in the pine and black oak uplands, and you'™ll see longleaf pine seedlings coming up everywhere. The uplands had all been logged and replanted in slash. When the Conservancy acquired the land, they removed the slash and sold it to purchase longleaf seedlings. Several times a year, folks can come out and help plant the seedlings. So far, over a million trees have been planted, and the more difficult job of restoring the native wiregrass is underway.

    Volunteers also help with controlled burns, which clear brush and hardwoods and ignite native growth. In about 50 years the uplands will be beautiful, but let'™s get back to the trail and the ravines.

    The well-marked trail goes down into three ravines and skirts several others. The ravines are steep--too steep to log--and so contain rare communities of virgin growth. And because this area is the tail end of the Appalachian mountains, the ravines are a riot of fauna found nowhere else in Florida and in some cases nowhere else on earth. Yew, croomia, cedar, plum, olive, silverbell, and the torreya tree serve as undergrowth for massive beech, oak, sweet gum, and magnolia. The ravine bottoms are thick with mountain laurel.

    Up and down you go, catching your breath and puzzling that there could be such steep trails in Florida. After two ravine dips and a 15-minute hike through live oak uplands, you are suddenly at the river on the edge of the bluff. Across the river, thousands of acres of floodplain forest stretch to the horizon. Hawks, swallowtail kites, and the occasional bald eagle soar overhead, and swallows dart and loop over the silent, powerful, muddy water.

    Take in the air and the sights, then turn left for the best part of the trail. Skirting the dizzying lip of the bluff, you walk along the river before hairpinning down into a spectacular ravine. It has rare trees, a lovely creek, and the largest magnolia I have ever seen. The trunk is at least four feet in diameter. Watch for snakes--all of Florida'™s venomous vipers are represented here.

    After this, the trail loops back the way you came, and you won'™t need to go to the gym for at least three days. If you'™re interested in volunteering, contact the Nature Conservancy office nearest you. Leaving the trail, you'™ll think the guy who called this place the Garden of Eden wasn'™t so crazy after all.