Help Blue Springs Become a State Park


Great news!  It appears there is a good chance that Blue Springs in Gilchrist County on the Santa Fe River will become a state park.  The date in Tallahassee is June 19, and the time to act is now.  At the end of this post is a list of the Acquisition and Restoration Council (called ARC),  council and staff members.  Please write to any or all of  them to request that they purchase this spring and surrounding land.  Blue Springs seems made to order for what the people had in mind when they voted in Amendment 1.

Blue Springs is a second magnitude spring producing approximately 40 million gallons of fresh clean spring water each day. There are 4 large springs and 2 smaller springs on the property, which includes 5 parcels with multiple buildings and 25 campsites with electric and water. In addition there are 100+ primitive campsites, nature trails, and a boardwalk to the Santa Fe River.

Thanks to Charlie Houder, ex-SRWMD employee, for listing some good reasons, which you can mention, or you can add your own.

Among the plus factors is that Blue Spring is categorized just short of a first magnitude spring, with a large discharge.  It is one of Florida’s major springs.

Wildlife is of value:  it boasts ten species of turtles, second only to the Ichetucknee in the Santa Fe basin. It has very high populations of snails, one of which, Elimia sp. is important for controlling nuisance algae.

The surrounding land totals nearly 400 acres, which would then be protected from development and would further enhance the overall designation of the Santa Fe as an Outstanding Florida Waterway, ecological greenway, and paddling trail.

The venue is already a park and has recreational facilities for swimming, camping and picnicking.

Thanks again go to Charlie Houder for the following list of ARC contacts.


Hank Vinson, Staff Director
Office of Environmental Services, Division of State Lands, Department of Environmental Protection 3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, M.S. 140 Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3000 (850) 245-2713


Department of Environmental Protection
Gary Clark, Deputy Secretary for Land and Recreation Designee for Secretary Jonathon Steverson 3900 Commonwealth Blvd., M.S. 44 Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3000 (850) 245-2043

Beth Alvi*
Bureau. of Watershed Restoration
Division of Environmental Assessment & Restoration 2600 Blair Stone Road, M.S. 3570 Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2400 (850) 245-7514

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Eric Sutton, Assistant Executive Director Designee for Nick Wiley, Executive Director 620 South Meridian Street Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1600 (850) 488-3831

Gary Cochran* Marathon Building-Koger Center
2574 Seagate Drive, Suite 203 Tallahassee, Florida 32301 (850) 487-9185

Florida Forest Service, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
James (Jim) Karels, Director Administration Building, C-25 3125 Conner Boulevard, Room 228 Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1650 (850) 681-5825

John Browne* Administration Building, C-25
3125 Conner Boulevard, Room 236 Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1650 (850) 681-5818

Larame Ferry* Administration Building, C- 25,
3125 Conner Boulevard, Room 240 Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1650 (850) 681-5816

Division of Historical Resources, Department of State
Rob Bendus, Director R.A. Gray Building, Room 305
500 South Bronough Street, M.S. 4 Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250 (850) 245-6338

Mike Wisenbaker*
B. Calvin Jones Center for Archaeology Governor Martin House, M.S. 8B
1001 De Soto Park Dr. Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 245-6318

Julia Byrd*
B. Calvin Jones Center for Archaeology Governor Martin House, M.S. 8B
1001 De Soto Park Dr. Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 245-6318

DACS Appointee
FWC Appointee

Vice Chair Lynetta Usher Griner
Usher Land & Timber, Inc. P.O. Box 1819,Chiefland, FL 32644
(352) 493-4221 or 493-2568
Bill Palmer, PhD, President
Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy 13093 Henry Beadel Drive, Tallahassee, Florida 32312 (850)i893-4153 x264

Governor Appointees

Mark Middlebrook, Executive Director St. Johns River Alliance 2029 North 3rd Street Jacksonville, Florida 32250 (904) 247-1972
Elva Peppers, Project Manager and Senior Biologist Florida Environmental and Land Services, Inc. 221-4 Delta Court Tallahassee, Florida 32303 (850) 385-6255

Maurice “Mo” Pearson President, 3E Consultants
7320 Narcoossee Road, Suite A Orlando, FL 32822 (407) 629-8180
John T. (Jack) Vogel
President, CEO, Natural Resource Planning Services Post Office Box 564 San Antonio, FL 33576
(352) 588-2580 office

Additional ARC Support Staff

Other DEP

Office of Environmental Services Division of State Lands
3900 Commonwealth Blvd., M.S. 140 Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3000 (Carr Building, 3rd Floor) Phone (850) 245-2784

Marianne Gengenbach, Chief Avis Lockett, Govt. Op. Consult. I
Land Conservation Planning: Paula Allen, Program Administrator
Sheryl Boutin, Op. & Mgmt. Consult. Mgr. Jimmy Hamby, Program Analyst Tom Butler, Govt. Op. Consult I Land Management Planning:
Keith Singleton, Program Administrator Aric Larson, Govt. Analyst III Bart Bibler, Govt. Analyst II Hank Vinson, Govt. Analyst II

Division of State Lands Kelley Boree, Director Mail Station 100 (850) 245-2555

Florida Natural Areas Inventory 1018 Thomasville Road, Suite 200-C Tallahassee, Florida 32303 Phone (850) 224-8207

Gary Knight, Director Dan Hipes, Chief Scientist

Division of Recreation & Parks (Land Administration) (850) 245-3051

Sine Murray (Management Plans) (850) 245-3051

Florida Coastal Office Penny Isom (850) 245-2098

Office of Greenways & Trails Samantha Browne (850) 245-2052

Florida Communities Trust Linda Reeves (850) 245-2702

Florida Geological Survey Dr. Jon Arthur (850) 617-0320

Division of Environmental Assessment & Restoration
Lee Marchman – (850) 245-7514 Kim Jackson – (850) 245-8547 Charlie Gauthier – (850) 245-8555




  1. When did State Park suddenly become
    ” government involvement”? Good Lord people! The state park system has been going strong for decades. Having grown up camping in parks all over this beautiful country, I have to laugh. Itchatucknee Springs used to be privately owned, with lots of beer drinking and the accompanying trash. I hated when they made it a state park, because I was uninformed. Thought all the fun was gone. No more floating down with cooler. Thing is, its much better now. Cleaner, safer and much more accessible. There is no reason to mistrust the state park system, unless as a matter of principle you hate anything that even sounds like
    ” government.” Remember, we ARE the government. Its people we elect.

  2. No Alan Fishman the worst news you COULD hear is… Nestles buys it, fences it off, pumps it dry and then charges you for the water that flows under your feet. Ask the residents of Zephyrhills how it happens.

  3. This is the worst news I ever heard. Blue is privately owned and is the only spring that a family can go .. There is no riff raff there. Your talking about word choice.. u go out to the state springs and see what words u hear out there. VERY BAD IDEA FOR STATE TO TAKE IT OVER!!!

  4. Half these comments remove all of my hope for mankind. “No alcohol I won’t go?” Good go swim in the open septic tank Ginnie Springs has become. Get a clue and some priorities.

  5. Any hope for Poe Springs? What is going on there is pretty disgusting (heavy drinking, smoking, spitting chewing tobacco into the spring). It would be nice to be able to go back there some day.

  6. Meh. I am 99% sure the state will take it over and govern everystep visitors take. A park ranger once threatened to eject me from is Ichetucknee Springs State Park for picking up a rock out of the woods and examining it. Meanwhile every government entity all around allowed to pollute all they want. There has to be a better way.

  7. It still will be, with many of the same protections the State can afford to valuable cultural and natural wonders. AND, with the Florida state park annual pass, people will find it more cost effective to visit this park 🙂

  8. James, I don’t like too much govenrment either, but the state will keep 400 acres of river property out of developers’ hands, and protect the wildlife–we will have to work on them protecting the spring, I know, I know….

    1. James, upkeep on a property like that is really expensive for a private landowner. Keeping it open as a park is often more of a burden than just allowing it to be divided and sold. Making it a state park will protect it for generations to come.

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