Free North Florida Springs – Part 3

Free North Florida Springs – In part three of our series we want to introduce you to a little known spring located with the Troy Springs Conservation area and Ruth Walker Tract. In fact, it is located off the same hard road as Troy Springs State Park. The area is run and maintained by the Suwannee River Water Management District so there are not a lot of amenities. There is, of course, no charge to visit the springs but be aware that this one is located down a not well maintained dirt road after traveling down a crushed rock road. There is no sign leading down to the spring itself you just got to find it. It took us two tries to finally locate the place but it was well worth it. The springs area is fortified with large wooden beams. There use to be a wooden walkway leading down but when we visited there (May 2013) it was almost gone. There is a parking area around the spring but no port-a-potty or picnic tables. It is used and kept clean mostly by local residents. The best direction we have found on another website: http://www.flsprings.com/content/ruth-spring
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Free North Florida Springs – Part 1

Free North Florida Springs – Did you know that there are actually some springs you and your family can visit and not cost you anything to go and enjoy? Yes, our Florida State Parks has some great springs in the north Florida area and, generally, it only costs a couple of bucks per car load to visit such as Ichetucknee Springs State Park in Ft White, Florida; Lafayette Blue Springs State Park in Mayo, Florida; Troy Springs State Park in Branford, Florida and Madison Blue Springs State Park in Lee, Florida. You really need to check their website before you come to make sure the springs is open before you drive over for the day. These are day-use only state parks and are opened from 8:00am to sundown every single day. Now until Memorial Day weekend, when the summer season begins, you will have a better chance to get in at the lowest fees.
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Summer on the Suwannee

Summer on the Suwannee River is going to be exciting and it will be hot and muggy too. It’s a very good thing that we will be in a Florida State Park that has a cool spring for swimming. As we speak our little RV air conditioning unit is thinking about quitting on us and we just don’t have the money to get it fixed. ๐Ÿ™ Major bummer for us. We may have to move to the front of the park behind the ranger’s station to get under the shade of some trees pretty soon. The barn area campsite for the residential hosts is extremely nice with a huge yard, electric, water and sewer set up, a fire ring and picnic table. We also have an extra bathhouse inside the barn that we use. It was made for the boy scouts who primitive camp in the park in exchange for some service project they do for the ranger. They were trying to get equestrian primitive camping approved to utilize this great horse barn that came with the property as well. But due to some “right of way on private property” snafu that has been put on hold indefinitely. The bathhouse is A.D.A. accessible. However, there are no shade trees where we have to park in order to reach the utilities. It gets pretty warm in here fairly quickly in the morning then all the way until dark.

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Its Cold Then Its Hot

Campsite at Stephen Foster
Campsite at Stephen Foster
March is such a strange month in Florida. Yes, I know our poor neighbors to the north and out west are almost frozen in and we really are not complaining but, man!, will mother nature please make up her mind. First we’re cold and then it warms up and then it rains and gets cold again. Then we start all over. These past three days were so nice, breezy, temps in the high 70s and a day or two in the low 80s but then the rain came and now it is back to being cloudy and gloomy all day long. Of course, right now it’s sprinkling again and supposed to go down to the 30s. Again, I know the rest of the country is frozen over. Hey! We’re in freaking Florida for goodness sake. Anyway, our little space heater fell in the water yesterday when we went to dump our waste tanks. Why, you ask, was the heater in the shower where the water overflows when the gray water tanks are full? Well, there wasn’t anywhere else to keep it out of the way and I really thought we would get the tanks dumped before it overflowed again.

Mom has put a moratorium on all new Volunteer Workamping assignments in the future. NO MORE SITES WITHOUT SEWERS! Even though we really love being here at Stephen Foster Folk Cultural Center State Park. The sites are all nice and big, under large oak and pine trees. The shower rooms always have lots of nice hot water. We even like being campground hosts here. We do work more during our three or four days on than we have at just about any other assignment. We do have to fight each morning to get a working golf cart to clean all the fire pits, barbecue grills and rake the sites on those who have left and before they let others in. Granted, the bathhouses are pretty large and we have to clean both of them every day we are on. It would really make it more convenient for us to have a sewer on-site.
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Troy Springs State Park Branford Florida

TroySpringSignTroy Springs State Park in Branford, Florida is a small little park with a lovely spring right next to the Suwannee River. You can picnic, swim (when the water in the Suwannee River is down), scuba dive in the spring and canoe and kayak up and down the river as well as get in a spot of fishing. The park has no camping amenities not even primitive. But they do have RV Sites set up for volunteers in exchange for working with the park ranger and manager in the park. We visited this park last year and were going to volunteer there but we couldn’t get our timing worked out. It seems we may be going there next year though and we look forward to it. However, they still need help this summer. If you, a family member or a friend would like to stay in a lovely, shady state park in exchange for a little cleaning, lawn care and maintenance work we hope you will fill out the application and get in touch with the Volunteer Coordinator. Her information is listed at the bottom of this article. Below are her answers to some of the questions we would ask of any of the state parks we were considering volunteering for:
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