North of Gainesville, a church camp once attracted thousands of visitors because it was built around the gushing waters of Hornsby Springs. Then the spring stopped flowing and the camp had to spend m
I moved from Florida two years ago, but I still keep track of this place I consider a part of my history. I learned to canoe and kayak on the Santa Fe River in North Florida. This river flows to the infamous Suwanee River, which eventually empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The Santa Fe River is host to several first-magnitude springs, such as Ginnie and Blue. But for how long? Already some of the first-magnitude springs on the Suwanee are no longer. And I’m hearing those springs on the Santa Fe are in a fight for life.
This photo was taken on the Santa Fe River somewhere between the High Springs boat ramp and Poe Springs in 2009. Compare that to a photo taken this weekend and posted on Facebook by Santa Fe River resident Robert McClellan.Film maker Jill Heinerth shoots footage for her documentary “We Are Water” at the High Springs boat ramp in North Florida on what was once the Santa Fe River.
Robert’s Facebook post shows startling pictures of the death of a river. For far too long, we have ignored the practices that are harming and destroying our lifeblood – our water. Contamination and withdrawals from the Floridan aquifer to feed and fuel the explosion of Florida’s population have now taken a toll. Tropical storms and hurricanes can’t come soon enough dumping much needed rain back into the earth. I doubt that one or two seasons could undue what havoc has been wrought by out of control development and irresponsible agricultural practices.
Last year, my husband and I kayaked this river. There were some low spots made even more unnavigable from the plants and algae crowding and suffocating the water’s surface, but at least there was water.
Thank to Robert McClellan for putting this information out there. Florida’s political environment is not very friendly to the ecological environment these days. We all need to become vocal proponents of saving the most important thing to all of us: our water. Just because it’s flowing out of your faucets easily now does not mean it will always be that way. If you don’t believe me, then perhaps I could sell you some waterfront property in North Florida just a short drive from the Gulf of Mexico – no bridges to cross to get there.