DEP Encourages Residents and Visitors to Explore a New Spring in Celebration of Springs Protection Awareness Month

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DEP Encourages Residents and Visitors to Explore
a New Spring in Celebration of Springs Protection Awareness Month

~28 Florida State Parks are home to freshwater springs where visitors can swim,
paddle, snorkel and scuba~

Florida's Troy Spring State Park

TALLAHASSEE. Fla. In celebration of April being recognized as Springs Protection Awareness Month, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection encourages residents and visitors to explore the 28 state parks that protect some of Florida's iconic freshwater springs.

“Florida is home to more large freshwater springs than any other state in the nation. In addition to their recreational value, and being economic drivers for our communities, springs are also the window into the health of our groundwater, the source of 90 percent of drinking water for Floridians,” said Drew Bartlett, DEP deputy secretary for ecosystem restoration. “That is why DEP and the water management districts are investing in water quality improvement projects to restore and protect our springs, including conserving and acquiring land in spring recharge zones such as within our cherished state parks.”

“Florida’s springs state parks give people the opportunity to learn about and experience one of the world’s wonders,” said Eric Draper, DEP director of Florida State Parks. “As we protect these amazing places, we hope that everyone will plan a visit to a springs park. Our outstanding park staff are ready to make your visit fun and educational."

Wekiwa Springs, Silver Springs, Weeki Wachee Springs and Rainbow Springs state parks are well-known destinations for springs enthusiasts. But there are also many lesser-known parks that are new to the park system, or perhaps more off the beaten path, that offer visitors the opportunity to discover a new favorite spring destination.

  • Florida State Parks recently welcomed Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park in High Springs as Florida’s 175th state park. The park has a collection of natural springs, including a large second-magnitude spring that produces an average of 44 million gallons of water per day. The other named springs on-site are Little Blue Spring, Naked Spring, Kiefer Spring and Johnson Spring. Paddling, snorkeling and swimming are all popular at the main springhead and spring run.
  • Troy Spring State Park in Branford is a hidden gem in north-central Florida. This 70-foot deep, first-magnitude spring offers opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. History buffs can see the remains of the Civil War-era steamboat Madison, which is nestled in the shallow water of the spring run.
  • Lafayette Blue Springs State Park in Mayo offers a tent-only campground and serves as a river camp for paddlers along the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail. The park also offers cabins and is one of the easiest parks to find available reservations.
  • Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park in Live Oak offers great opportunities for swimming, with two major springs, a spring run and six sinkholes. The park also has an interpretive trail highlighting the unique geology of the region that resulted in the formation of the spring, as well as the unique plants and wildlife that inhabit the park because of its exclusive ecosystem.

The department's springs locator map provides an online resource to easily research a new spring to explore.