|Summary of Features
Scenery - good
How Pristine? - in park/garden setting, paths, exotic plants and flowers
Swimming - no
Protection - excellent
Crowds - small to none
Access - excellent
Facilities - good
Safety - excellent
Scuba - no
Cost - $2 per vehicle
Directions (address and phone: 6400 Eureka Springs Road, Tampa, 33610, 813-744-5536)
From Tampa, go east on Interstate 4. At the U.S. 301 exit complex, take exit 6C east, then bear right onto Eureka Springs Road and continue to Eureka Springs County Park, on the left. Link to park web site and map: www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/locations/eureka-springs
At least five springs are located in Eureka Springs County Park. Little evidence of flow was observed in January 2000. Three springs are within 150 feet of the parking area - to the north, west, and south. The largest spring site (to the north) is adjacent to the parking and picnic areas and is a circular pool about 50 feet in diameter. There is no flow from the spring, which is covered with duckweed and other aquatic vegetation. A second spring is in front of (west) the parking area, is oval-shaped and about 8 feet across and 15 feet long. The spring forms a shallow and plant-covered run that flows about 125 feet south to join the run from a fourth spring to the west. The third spring near the parking area spring has a small (six feet in diameter) circular pool with brown water. The pool is mostly canopied.
Two other springs are located within a wooded, swampy area in the park that is encircled by a boardwalk on its perimeter. The larger of the two springs is in the SW corner of the boardwalk trail, and its headwaters may be viewed through the dense foliage and plant-filled waters. It forms a run that flows east and which is joined by the smaller two springs near the parking area. No vent was visible. A fifth spring is near the center of the heavily wooded and swampy area in the middle of a looping boardwalk that goes through the park. Its narrow and shallow run was seen, but the foliage was too thick to permit view or access to the spring itself and it was not visited.
When the springs flow, their runs combine into a run that enters Six Mile Creek, which is now the site of the Tampa Bypass Canal. Staff at the site told JF that the springs only flow in times of above-average rainfall.
- Eureka Springs Park is a county park with gardens, trails, a greenhouse, a 1,700-foot boardwalk, picnic facilities, and restrooms. The park has very good handicapped accessibility. The springs are not used for any purpose except decoration.
- The park boasts a wide variety of plants from many countries.
- The area around the spring is an odd combination of rustic housing, farmland, an airport, and the Tampa Bypass Canal.
- Before donating the springs and surrounding land to Hillsborough County in 1967, Albert Greenberg bought the site in 1938 and created a botanical garden with rare and exotic plants. Eureka Springs were also used as the first tropical fish farm in Florida. According to the park brochure, the springs were also used for baptisms (Eureka Springs County Park, n.d.). Rosenau et al. (1977, p. 157) state that flowing wells were used to create pools for the tropical fish, suggesting that not all the "springs" on the site are natural.
- Staff at the park told JF that the springs flowed regularly until the Tampa Bypass Canal was dug nearby. The digging apparently breached the Floridan Aquifer and disrupted the normal hydrostatic pressure that caused Eureka Springs to flow. As a result, the springs are more like sinkholes today, and only flow occasionally.
- A hydrologist for the City of Tampa confirmed to JF the park staff's explanation of the canal upsetting the flow of Eureka Springs. He also noted that the plumbing of the Tampa Bypass Canal and the city's reservoir were linked, and that Tampa drew water from both sources.
Any dead spring is a sad sight, and Eureka Springs is another example of how complex spring/aquifer connections can be. The park is attractive, although it is virtually forgotten and lies an unattractive and somewhat obscure location between the interstate, the Tampa Bypass Canal, and an airport.
- Sulphur Spring
- Crystal Springs
- Lithia Springs
Green Swamp Wildlife Management Area
Withlacoochie State Forest
Hillsborough River State Park
Lettuce Lake County Park