|Dr. Bill Stone pilots a space-aged digital wall mapper at Wakulla Springs.|
But before divers can take to underwater spelunking, the Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service will host a public workshop on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 to hear from the public regarding the proposed inclusion of recreational cave diving at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park.
The Florida Park Service is examining proposals to provide recreational cave diving in Wakulla Spring. In an effort to solicit the views of the local community, the park’s citizen support organization and other park stakeholders, public comment will be taken before formally proposing the addition of cave diving in Wakulla Spring.
Interested parties unable to attend the public workshop on Jan. 19 may send written comments to the Division of Recreation and Parks’ Office of Park Planning, 3900 Commonwealth Blvd, Mailstation 525, Tallahassee, FL 32399.
Featuring of one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world, Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is home to an abundance of wildlife, including alligators, turtles, deer, and birds.
The public workshop will be held: at 7 p.m. at the Wakulla County Agriculture Extension Office, 84 Cedar Avenue in Crawfordville, Fla.
Read more about the subject on cavediver.net.
Wakulla Spring is located in Wakulla Springs State Park about 20 miles south of Tallahassee. From the US 319 (Thomasville Road) exit on I-10 take Capital Circle (US 319) south 12.9 miles. Turn south (right) on US 319/SR 61 (Crawfordville Highway) and travel 1.9 miles. Bear left on SR 61 (Wakulla Springs Road) and go 7.6 miles to SR 267. Turn east (left) and park entrance is 0.1 miles on the south side of the road. The spring vent is located below the diving platform, northeast of the parking area.
Description - Wakulla Spring is one of the largest and most dramatic of Florida’s springs. The spring pool is roughly circular with a diameter of 315 ft north to south. The maximum pool depth is 185 ft. The vent opening is a horizontal ellipse along the south side of the pool bottom and is estimated to measure 50 ft by 82 ft. Along with a few smaller springs nearby, including Sally Ward Spring, Wakulla Spring gives rise to the clear Wakulla River. Water clarity of the spring in October 2001 was exceptional and the water was light blue. It should be noted that the water clarity of the spring varies dramatically in response to rainfall. Surface water entering the sinkholes that connect to the Wakulla Spring system greatly reduces the clarity. Exotic aquatic vegetation once covered much of the spring pool and adjacent river bottom, but divers have recently removed large amounts and herbicides have been used in efforts to control it. The Wakulla River remains choked with exotic invasive plants. Many other aquatic and emergent plant species also are present in the spring pool and river. A mixed hardwood, cabbage palm, and cypress forest inhabits lowlands along the north and east shores of the spring and along the river. Uplands along the western shore of the spring are developed into a state park lodge and facilities. Also, there are hardwoods and large loblolly pines scattered about. A major underwater cave system has been mapped at Wakulla Springs.
Utilization - Wakulla Spring is developed into a recreational and wildlife viewing area. The park has a lodge and restaurant. There are regular glass-bottomed riverboat and spring tours, and swimming is allowed in the southeast quadrant of the spring pool. The upper 3 miles of the Wakulla River is state-owned and is a protected wildlife sanctuary.