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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Juniper Creek not for novice paddlers

Published August 16, 2007
Juniper Creek is a wild and beautiful place, one of the few canoe runs in Florida where paddlers see nothing but wilderness and other paddlers. No backyard docks. No power lines.

The trip through the Juniper Prairie Wilderness begins at Juniper Springs, where 13 million gallons of crystal-clear, 72-degree water gurgles up from the ground daily before it flows north and east along the narrow run to Lake George. Having made the trip years ago, I wanted to show my family the natural beauty of this canoe run in the Ocala National Forest.

The 7-mile run from Juniper Springs to the State Road 19 bridge at Juniper Wayside Park takes four to five hours. Canoes can be rented from 8 a.m. until noon any day of the year. Paddlers must reach the take-out spot by 4:30 p.m. Canoe rental and shuttle service costs $33.55 per canoe. The required $20 cash deposit for each canoe is refunded when paddles and life jackets are returned. Entrance to Juniper Springs Campground and Recreation Area: $4.26 per person. Call (352) 625-2808 or go online to www.camprrm.com.

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