|Summary of Features |
- The site is a Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) conservationarea and includes 327 acres and over a mile of river frontage.
- Trails lead to bluffs overlooking the Suwannee. A particularly nice viewis from the trail on the downstream side of the run, looking down uponthe little "waterfall" at the mouth of the run.
- The south end of the tract has a boat ramp, and the boat ramp for AllenMill Pond is visible from the mouth of the run.
- According to SRWMD (Johnson & Faircloth, 1996, p. 48) there is anotherspring on the tract called Iron Spring as well as several sinkholes, aslough, and a floodplain. Few outsiders know about the spring.
- Flynn Spring
- Allen Mill Pond Spring
- Thomas Spring
- Lafayette Blue Spring
From the flashing light in Luraville, drive north on State Road 51about four miles and then turn left at the gas station onto County Road252, also called Charles Spring Road (and 152nd Street). Go almost fourmiles and the paved road will bend sharply to the left. The sign will sayDowling Park. Instead of turning, go straight ahead on the dirt road, whichwill curve around left for 1.1 miles until you see a stop sign, seeminglyout of place. Then you will cross another dirt road into the narrow entranceto Charles Spring. There is no sign.
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 atthe following address: http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida
Charles Spring has two limestone bridges, creating two pools at itshead and a shallow run of about 250 feet to the Suwannee. The pools canbe green, blue, or clear depending on rain and light conditions and waterlevels. The spring vent appears to be under one of the limestone bridges,and the vent is not readily visible. The run is very clear and flows overand through gnarled cypress roots and over rocks where the run meets theriver. At normal water levels, the run tumbles about four feet into theriver. The run ranges from 40 feet wide near the limestone bridges to about12 feet wide near the river and is from 1-4 feet deep . In tim es of drought,the run can dry up completely, leaving only water in pools among the limestone bridges.
When JF visited the spring in January 20 04, he was struck by the largeamounts of algae growing in the run; this algae has not historically beenin the run in such profusion--nearly the entire run was covered in longgreen strips--and is the result of elevated levels of nitrate flowing fromthe spring.
Historical accounts suggest that the early Spanish Conquistadors crossedthe Suwannee at this site, following an Indian trail. A Spanish mission,San Juan de Guacara, was built near the spring. In the 19thcentury, settlers (including Ruben Charles) built on the site and ran aferry operation across the river. After Charles died in 1842, his wiferan the ferry for ten more years, until she was shot and killed on herfront porch (Springs of the Suwannee, SRWMD, no date).
Charles is a very attractive if somewhat remote spring that makes fora great picnic, wading, and canoeing site. The rising nitrate levels,which are common in all the springs in this region, are causing huge anddisgusting amounts of algae growth that significantly (and for the forseeablefuture) mar and degrade the spring.
Suwannee River Water Management District
Live Oak, FL 32060