Dogs days of summer are upon us. We are still hanging out working in the Alligator Lake Recreation Park here in Lake City, Florida. With all the visitors we have had even on the hottest days here we have been keeping pretty busy with our duties. When we are not driving around on the Gator picking up trash, checking out the trails, cleaning the bathrooms, checking the trash cans and keeping the rental pavilion cleaned between uses we have been keeping busy with creating more handcrafted items, working on my websites, and entertaining my granddaughter during her visits while out of school.
Free North Florida Springs – In our forth and final episode in the series we will be listing a couple of the free springs left on our list and relisted a few of the websites you might want to “favor” or “bookmark” for future reference. Again, please remember that all of the springs we have listed are located somewhere along one of the rivers, have a tendency to flood several times a year and do not have the same amenities as the ones in our Florida State Parks. Also, please do not harass the local wildlife, bring mosquito repellent, wear water shoes to swim and always bring along someone who is a better swimmer than you are. The buddy system works for a reason. Most of these places are in the middle of a wildlife and/or wilderness area and you do not want to swim alone. Finally, please be kind and take your trash with you or at least use any trash cans that may be provided. Leave only footprints and take only pictures.
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 – In part two of our series we will list another springs area that you can visit and not have to pay an entrance fee. Remember, our natural springs are located near a river and have a tendency to flood when the river rises. You really do not want to go into a spring that you cannot see to the bottom of and you should always be aware of snakes, alligators and other creatures that live in the area. Please do not harass the wildlife. Again, most of our springs are regulated by either Federal, State, County or Water Management Districts. Most charge a fee to visit. One of our favorites is Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park in Live Oak, Florida. It is more popular with divers than swimmers but the swimming area is pretty nice. It is not as big as some of the more popular springs state parks but nice nonetheless. On a hot summer day when the river is down you can go to this out-of-the-way area and enjoy the large shade trees, dip into very chilly water and have a picnic on the banks.
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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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Spring is really trying to be sprung here in north Florida. In the last 7 days we have had almost 90 degree weather and highs in the 60’s. We have had mostly sunny days and mostly rainy and cloudy days. Nothing really seems to faze our visitors here at Alligator Lake Recreation Area in beautiful Lake City, Florida though. They come every single day to walk to trails, ride their bikes, play on the playground, picnic at one of the pavilions and every single weekend their are lots of birthday parties. Generally, the big screened in pavilion is only rented on the weekends and is reserved all the way into August, I think. So we have lots of trash cans to empty on Saturday and Sunday. The other smaller open but covered picnic pavilions are first-come-first-serve so we get quite a few people here first thing in the morning to stake out their favorite ones. Other than picking little pieces of confetti string and candy wrappers the visitors have been fairly good about cleaning up after themselves by putting their trash in the cans. We still have to chase down the occasional piece of tissue paper or paper bag that ends up the surrounding wooded areas.
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