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

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Hunter (or American Legion) Spring
Citrus County
Summary of Features
  • Scale -2nd magnitude (estimated)
  • Scenery -fair (surface) to fine (underwater)
  • How Pristine? -unknown
  • Swimming -good, fine snorkeling
  • Protection -poor
  • Crowds -large on warm weekends and in summer
  • Access -excellent, land or water
  • Facilities -fine
  • Safety -lifeguard, water bad for skin
  • Scuba -yes
  • Cost -free
View of Park from floating dock
Spring viewed from floating dock
Spring
Manatees swimming by
More manatees
 

Directions (address and web link: Hunter's Spring Park, 104 NE 1st Ave., Crystal River, FL 34429, 352-697-0933. www.hunterspringspark.org/
Just offshore at Hunter Spring Municipal Park in Crystal River.  The spring is about 100 feet offshore in the middle of Hunter Spring Run on the north side.  The run is on the east side of King’s Bay—.

Spring Description
The spring is a limestone opening at a depth of about 15 feet. Water flows strongly out of the hole, which is 2-3 feet in diameter, and forms a mild slick on the surface.  The spring creates a bowl in the middle of Hunter Spring Run, which is about 100 yards across at this point.  Water in the run is greenish, but was clear and blue over the spring on date of visit in May 2001.  The spring was less clear later in the day when it was crowded with swimmers.  The vent and surrounding area were covered in algae and silted easily when stirred.  A floating dock is moored next to the vent for swimmers and sunbathers. Land to the north of the spring is a public park; the rest of the land is developed for housing and apartments.  In addition to having algae, the spring and run are thick with exotic vegetation.  When visited in the late afternoon, the back part of the run was bright green with visibility of less than 6 inches.  Fish and manatees were seen at the spring, and herons were seen along the run.

Use/Access

  • The spring is the site of a public park that includes picnic areas, swimming, a floating dock at the spring, bathrooms/changing rooms, canoe and kayak rentals, grills, a playground, and showers.  A sign at the park when the authors visited warned bathers to shower immediately after swimming because of pollution in the water.
  • Despite the pollution and warnings, the spring remains a very popular swim spot.
  • The spring may be also accessed by road or from Pete’s Marina, which is 5-10-minute paddle from the west.
  • Local Springiana
    The lifeguard at the spring warned the authors to be sure to shower off after swimming. She said failing to do so would cause eye irritation and skin lesions, and she showed them several spots that developed on her skin after she had neglected to immediately wash off the polluted water in the spring run.

    Personal Impressions
    Hunter is a beautiful spring that was grossly polluted when the authors visited. One can dive through the polluted layer near the surface to the clear and lovely spring below—the flow from the spring is still clean—or at least clear—and creates a bubble of transparent water beneath the fouled water above. Were it not for the pollution, Hunter would be one of the more attractive springs in Florida. Its current level of cleanliness is not known.

    Nearby Springs

  • Other Crystal River/King’s Bay Springs (Artesian, Catfish, Gator [or Gator Hole], Grand Canyon, Idiot’s Delight, Independence, Jurassic, King’s, Little Hidden, Mullet’s Gullet, Three Sisters, Unnamed Banana Island Springs, Unnamed Spring Boils)
  • Homosassa Springs Group
  • Chassahowitzka Springs Group
  • Rainbow Springs Group
  • Other Nearby Natural Features
    Rainbow Springs State Park
    Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge
    Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge
    Withlacoochie State Forest