Florida’s Acquisition and Restoration Council gives thumbs up to Blue Springs

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Blue Springs in Gilchrist County, FL
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Dante Wyndam from Sebring enjoys a swim in Blue Springs

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE:  Friday morning in Tallahassee, Florida’s Acquisition and Restoration Council unanimously voted to add Blue Springs and the 405-acre property on the Santa Fe River near High Springs to the list of first-magnitude springs the state is seeking to buy with Florida Forever funds.

Earlier post:

On June 19th, the state’s Acquisition and Restoration Council will decide whether to add Blue Springs to its larger “First Magnitude Springs” aquisition project.  Hundreds of people have signed a petition urging the state to purchase Blue Springs Park in Gilchrist County and turn it into a state park.  Environmental groups like, “Our Santa Fe River,” and others point out the purchase would protect the spring from future development and make it available to the general public.  They point out how the park already has campsites, parking, boardwalks and other infrastructure which would make the transition to a state park easier.

The 405-acre property along the Santa Fe River in Florida has been privately owned by Kimberly David and Matt Barr since the late 1950s. Blue Springs has been a very popular recreation destination for years.  Environmentalists say Blue Springs is a unique treasure and protecting the popular water body is what Floridians had in mind when they voted for Amendment 1, the land conservation constitutional amendment that voters overwhelmingly approved in November.

The park, like many springs in North Central Florida, is packed on a typical summer weekend with swimmers, snorkelers, kayakers, tubers and picnickers.

 

 The video below depicts a typical summer weekend at Blue Springs Park.

(videography by Donna Green-Townsend.  Song Blue Springs Swing by Lauren Heintz.  Wildwood Flower performed by Sam Pacetti and Gabriel Valla)

 

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An online petition is circulating asking folks to support the state’s acquisition of Blue Springs Park.  The petition reads:
Purchase of Gilchrist Blue Springs

To be delivered to Mr. Hank Vinson, Staff Director, Acquisition and Restoration Council and Mr. Gary Clark, Deputy Secretary for Land and Recreation Designee

Dear Sirs: Your council will soon meet to determine the fate of one of Florida’s finest remaining natural resources and a prime example of what our state can boast as a unique treasure. Gilchrist Blue Springs seems made to order for what the people of Florida had in mind when they voted in Amendment 1. This spring is categorized as a second magnitude, just short of a first magnitude producing approximately 40 million gallons of fresh clean water each day, and as such is one of Florida’s major springs. There are 4 large springs and 2 smaller springs on the property, which has multiple buildings and 25 campsites with electric and water. In addition there are 100+ primitive campsites, nature trails, and a long boardwalk to the Santa Fe River. Wildlife is abundant on the property and especially important for two reasons: it boasts ten species of turtles, second only to the Ichetucknee in the Santa Fe basin, and it has a very high populations of snails, one of which, Elimia sp., is important for controlling nuisance algae. The surrounding land totals nearly 400 acres, which would then be protected from development and would further enhance the overall designation of the Santa Fe as an Outstanding Florida Waterway, ecological greenway, and paddling trail. The venue is already a park and has recreational facilities for swimming, camping and picnicking. The availability of the Gilchrist Blue Springs property comes at an opportune moment, when Amendment 1 funds have been assured by law. Our Santa Fe River encourages your council to grasp this opportunity to preserve this beautiful and invaluable part of the pristine Florida for which it is renowned.
If interested in signing the petition you can go to: