Window into our Drinking Water

Naked spring at Gilchrist Blue State Park with forest in the background

Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is in the north central part of the state, an area well known for the many spectacular freshwater springs found along the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers. The park protects a group of springs including two second-magnitude springs, Gilchrist Blue and Naked, and one of the most significant spring runs in the Santa Fe basin. 

Turquoise Waters at Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park

Springs are important windows into the health of Florida's groundwater - the source of 90% of our drinking water, silently flowing beneath our feet. Gilchrist Blue and Naked Springs offer a magically crystal blue glimpse of the Floridan aquifer, especially in the late spring before the summer rains begin. 

Tanin waters mixing with Gilchrist Blue Spring run

It's a dynamic place when heavy rains arrive and the level of the Santa Fe River rises. At times, the spring run is affected as river flooding gradually pushes back against the pressure in the Floridan aquifer that causes springs to flow. River and spring water begin to mix as the Santa Fe River back floods into Gilchrist Spring run. The amount of mixing can be a helpful tool in measuring changes in groundwater discharge in the spring system. Gilchrist Blue and Naked Springs may even reverse flow and function as siphons, or inflow points into the aquifer.

While visiting the park it is important to remember it's all connected! These springs reflect the quality of water that we use every day. Please swim only in designated areas to avoid damaging sensitive areas, which are susceptible to erosion and pollution. Always remember to clean up trash and belongings that you bring into the park and remember: Together we can protect ...the Real Florida.