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Florida’s vanishing springs: Series 1-5
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 more than $1 million to build a water park to replace it. The old spring site is now so stagnant that it’s frequently declared unfit for humans to swim in. In Silver Springs, where the water was once so clear it was as if the fish swam through air, there are now goopy mats of algae so thick that alligators can perch atop them. And in the Ocala National Forest, the gurgle of fresh water pouring out of popular Silver Glen Spring is slowly growing saltier. Deep beneath the ground we stand on, below the strip malls and the condos and the lush green of the golf courses, runs a river of water that makes life in Florida possible. The underground aquifer rushes through Swiss cheese caverns, its hidden flow bubbling up to the surface in Florida’s roughly 1,000 springs — the greatest concentration of springs on Earth.
A century ago Florida’s gin-clear springs drew presidents and millionaires and tourists galore who sought to cure their ailments by bathing in the healing cascades. Now the springs tell the story of a hidden sickness, one that lies deep within the earth:
To read the rest of the article please click on>> Water in many springs no longer boils up like a fountain.
Learn more about Florida’s springs
- Florida’s Springs: Protecting nature’s gems by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
- The Complete Florida Springs Map and Guide by Freshwater Publications
- Florida Springs by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
- by Kekkt Samek, FSU
- Florida Springs Database by Greg Johnson
- Inventory of Springs by the Florida Geological Survey
Craig Pittman, Times Staff Writer
Craig is the author of three books:
“Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida’s Most Famous Endangered Species,” (2010);
“Paving Paradise: Florida’s Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss,” co-written with Waite (2009).
All of them published by the University Press of Florida. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and two children.
To contact Craig phone: (727) 893-8530 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / Twitter: @craigimes
In the middle of the Ocala National Forest lies Silver Glen Springs, the one spring in Florida that has all the scientists scratching their heads. Read more
To the tourists, nothing’s changed. The glass-bottom boats still chug back and forth across the bubbling bowl of water, and they can peer down and see fish and turtles swimming along as if they were cruising above a giant aquarium.
Twelve years ago, when a panel of experts published a report on everything wrong with Florida’s springs, one meager ray of light came from Sulphur Spring in Tampa.
Ginnie Springs, named for a woman who once washed laundry there, has long been the most popular freshwater diving location in the world . Thousands of divers have explored its fossils and limestone formations.
Other Florida Springs articles from Tampa Bay Times / Environment
- Ginnie Springs owner fights off threats: By Craig Pittman,
- Silver Springs backers fight proposed cattle ranch: By Craig Pittman,
- Tampa’s Sulphur Springs too far gone, experts say: By Craig Pittman.
Other related articles from Tampa Bay Times / Environment