I was introduced to state parks as an employee in 1993 at Homosassa Springs, instantly falling in love with the crystal-clear waters. In fact, the first time I saw Homosassa was in 1988 on an accidental “what’s this?” stop on a road trip through North Florida from my home in West Palm Beach.
I was awestruck when I passed the manatee statue near the entrance, and there was a live manatee doing barrel rolls in the crystal-clear spring run. How amazing is it to have millions of gallons of crystal-clear water bursting out of nowhere, providing a sanctuary for endangered wildlife and flowing in a river to the gulf? Springs became my thing, and I have had the honor and privilege of playing a role in the management of five of our glorious state park springs since 1993.
When we became Silver Springs State Park in 2013 and the park system began managing the headsprings as well, Floridians agreed that the best thing to do was to enhance the protection that the private owners had provided in the past. We maintained the policy of people in watercraft only and added a paddle launch to facilitate the experience of a truly natural spring-fed river.
Silver Springs and Silver River are the closest you can get to an undisturbed spring-fed river within the Florida State Park system. No houses are built along its shoreline, no fish gets a lip piercing, no alligators are removed. What we have is a true and honest demonstration of what nature’s theme really is, and you can see it from a glass-bottom boat or a paddle craft of your choice. Float into the truly real Florida here at Silver Springs.