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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Florida’s Flows of Clear, Cool Water

Published: April 11, 2008
Visit the natural freshwater springs of northern Florida, and you may find it impossible to resist plunging in, or at least riding along the surface in a kayak or tube. Typically surrounded by trees and lush vegetation, the springs are often an eerily beautiful blue or green. Some are so clear that kayakers photographed on them appear as if they were floating on air. The purity of the water at Ginnie Spring has attracted the Coca-Cola Company, which has a permit to extract up to 600,000 gallons a day from a deeply placed well there and bottles some of it as Dasani water. And with water temperatures a cool 68 to 72 degrees, these alluring springs are unlikely spots for a nervous Northerner’s meeting up with an alligator, or so their aficionados insist.

At Rum Island Springs, a cabin can be rented for the weekend beside a turquoise pool of water twice the size of a large Jacuzzi. Poe Springs, in a 200-acre Alachua County park, has concrete steps leading into clear blue water. Blue Spring, Naked Spring, Johnson Spring and Kiefer Spring are all accessible from the privately owned Blue Springs swimming area in High Springs. More springs are preserved in more than a dozen state parks, including Troy, Manatee, Ponce de Leon and Wakulla Springs.
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