Running Springs #1 and #2
Summary of Features
- Scale -2nd magnitude
- Scenery -excellent
- How Pristine? -unspoiled; parking area above springs; fence aroundsite, development planned
- Swimming -very good, superb snorkeling
- Protection -unknown
- Access -none, private
- Safety -N/A
Link to map to spring: Map
From Mayo, drive north on State Road 51. After about 4 miles, cross the Suwannee River. The flashing light at Luraville is another 1-1.5 miles north, just past the agriculture weigh station. There is a country store on the left at the flashing light. Turn right at the light onto Luraville Road and drive about 3.5 miles. At intersection with church on the left, turn ight (south) and go to the end of the road near the river about 1.3 miles. Instead of turning left or right, look for sand drive straight ahead and proceed 150 feet to bluff over springs.
Spring #1 is the larger spring and is downriver or east of spring #2. Spring #1 is a roughly circular pool with a limestone wall and large fallen tree between the spring and the immediately adjacent Suwannee River. The spring is set in a steep depression below the natural river berm about 50 feet from the river and about 18 feet below the crest of the berm. The pool is approximately 50 by 30 feet and has a multitude of vents, sand boils, and other flow points along the northern bank and on the bottom. Green algae grows in the pool, but the bottom is mostly sandy or exposed limestone. The water is very clear.Some of the water flows under a limestone bridge to the river, but most of the flow appears to exit the pool under the fallen tree to tumble into the Suwannee in a small and attractive cascade. In times of high water, the river inundates the spring. In times of low water, the cascade is larger.
Spring #2 is 150 feet upriver or west of spring #1. In contrast to Spring #1, it is set back approximately 150 from the river and its run forms a scenic glen. The main vent is at the back end of the run and is calm upwelling of clear water from the base of a steep, 20-foot limestone and sand bluff. The small entrance extends down several feet and is perhaps large enough for a person to fit into. The run is 10-20 feet wide, shallow and creek-like, with stones along its course. There is another vent on the west side about 2/3 of the way to the river. Rosenau et al. (1977, p. 375) mention three vents. Flow is very clear, and the back vent is blue in the sunlight. At the end of the run, the spring flows under a natural bridge into the Suwannee River.
For many years, the undeveloped land adjacent to the springs had been owned by a private owner and the University of Florida Foundation. There had been relatively free access to the site, and there was some damage from erosion and some litter on the site. The private owner empowered the Foundation to negotiate the sale of the land. The land immediately on the springs was platted, divided into lots, and appraised for development. The Foundation approached both the Suwannee River Water Management District and the CARL program and suggested they purchase the entire mile of riverfront that was available. In 1995 or 1996, the Suwannee River Water Management made an offer of approximately $35,000 for the seven lots on the springs. The offer was based on the conservation of the land and not on its developed value. Because the land had been divided into lots and appraised for development, however, UF said it could not accept such a low figure. Both UF and the private owner expressed a desire to conserve the site and accept a rate lower than the appraised rate (up to $45,000 per lot). No deal was made, and the land was sold for private development.
Because neither spring has a navigable run to the Suwannee River, the fencing of the property has the effect of preventing future public access to Running Springs. Running Spring #1 (the upriver spring) is visible from the Suwannee so can still at least be seen from a canoe/boat on the river. Running #2 can only be seen from the land. With so many of Florida's springs now being protected, it is regrettable that Running did not make it. Running #1 is one of the most attractive spring pools in Florida. . Alas. The story of Running Springs is a sad but instructive tale in the economics and politics of springs conservation. It also suggests the important roles that public voice and action might play.
- Spring #1 is an excellent wading and swimming pool.
- Spring #2 is an excellent wading spot.
- JF observed snakes along the river trail.
- Cow Spring is only about 250 yards to the NE as the crow flies.
Snorkeling in spring #1 was an almost rapturous experience, as water seemed to be flowing from everywhere and the pool was "alive" with movement and the play of light on the water. These two sheltered spring pools are exceptionally beautiful in a region with many attractive springs.
- Suwannee Blue