Saturday, September 28, 2013

Silver Age For Silver Springs?

Maybe not a new golden age, as The Gainesville Sun wonders, but more likely a silver age, as occurred in the comic book industry: a lesser offspring of a superhero parent:

When visitors walk through the gates at the new Silver Springs State Park for the first time Tuesday, the place won't look much different than when it gasped and sputtered to a close two weeks ago.

The major things that have attracted visitors over the years — the springs, the glass-bottom boats and, more recently, the Twin Oaks Mansion concert stage — will be there.

There will be subtle differences, however. The animals are gone, for starters. There are no bears, no giraffes and no alligators — except the ample number that cruise just beneath the surface of the springs or sunbathe on the banks of the river.

A few derelict structures are also kaput, and there is fresh paint on the ones that remain.

But make no mistake, it is not the same. The opening of the park signals yet another new beginning for an iconic Florida destination that has undergone a number of makeovers in its 150-year lifespan.


The water quality of the spring isn't as high as it was in the early days, because of agricultural runoff. It's going to be a state park now, the property of the state of Florida, so that means the era of competing visions for the park will come to an end, and the usual state park plan for a self-sustaining tamed wilderness will be put into place: hiking trails, canoe/kayak access, camping. The glass-bottomed boats will probably remain, at least for now. I can envision at some time in the future an underwater auditorium similar to the one in Weeki Wachi being built, after which the glass-bottomed boats will probably be mothballed as a waste of government money.

Be sure to click on the slideshow. Here's a sample pic, of park model Ginger Stanley Hollowell playing with her cooter:

Don't She Have a Pretty Cooter?

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