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Florida is a state of great scenic beauty, and has many natural enchantments. Among these none are more wonderful or more interesting than her famous springs, to be found in many portions of the state, generally as the source of some sequestered river of delightful tropic charm. There are hundreds of springs in Florida, all told, many of them at present almost inaccessible.
Queen of all the springs of Florida is Silver Springs, situated some six miles from Ocala, in Marion County. This beautiful spring is the source of the Ocklawaha River, which, with the St. Johns by the Clyde Line, affords a water highway to the sea, and is soon to be an integral link in an inland waterway that will permit one to traverse the entire state by water from Miami on the Atlantic and Fort Myers on the Gulf, by way of Lake Okeechobee, next to Lake Michigan the largest fresh water lake within the confines of the United States. Silver Springs has a flow of more than 370,O0 gallons a minute, or approximately 200,000,000,000 gallons a year, which of itself is a greater amount of water than is consumed annually by Chicago, America's second metropolis.
To Marion County, also, belongs the honor of having the second largest spring in point of flow in the state. This is Blue Spring, near Juliette, in the southwestern part of the county. This spring has an average discharge of approximately 350,000 gallons a minute.
Other notable springs in Florida with their flow in gallons a minute are : Crystal River, at Crystal River, in Citrus County, 200,000; Itchatacknee, near Fort White, in Columbia County, 153,000; Wakulla, 18 miles south of Tallahassee, in Wakulla County, 150,000; Weekiwachee, 12 miles from Brooksville, in Hernando County, 150,000; Newland Springs, near Falmouth, in Suwanee County, 100,000; Blue Springs, near Orange City, in Volusia County, 65,000; Suwanee Sulphur, near Suwanee, in Suwanee County, 52,000; Poe Springs, near High Springs, in Alachua County, 39,000; Chassahowitzka, near Homosassa, in Citrus County, 35,000; Wekiva, 15 miles from Bronson in Levy County, 29,000; Blue, also near Bronson, 25,000; Seminole, near Sorrento, in Lake County, 25,000; Warm, near Coleman, in Sumter County, 25,000; Branch Mill, near Suniterville, in Sumter County, 22,000; Lithia, southeast of Tampa, in Hillsborough County, 20,000; De Leon Springs, near De Land, 16,650; Sulphur, just north of Tampa, in Hillsborough County, 16,O00; Bugg, near Okahumpka, in Lake County, 15,000, and Waldo, near Hampton Springs, in Taylor County, 12,000.
In addition to her springs, Florida has also many wonderful sinks, natural bridges, and caves, created by the action of water on her limestone strata. Two miles from Sumterville, in a dense hammock, is the Great Wall Sink, a natural chasm of vast proportions whose yet unfathomed depths are alive with fish.
Water is one of the most important but least appreciated resources of Florida. Except in restricted areas on the lower East Coast, it is possible to obtain artesian water anywhere in the state. From the commercial viewpoint water is an asset of very first consequence. Every phosphate mine in the state uses millions of gallons of water a day in the hydraulic mining and washing of its rock, while it is indispensable also in the quarrying of limestone, now the second most important mining industry in the state. From the recreational standpoint, too, the importance of Florida's magnificent coastal and inland water heritage has not yet been recognized. The streams of Florida today should be lined with winter homes, and her waters should be alive with pleasure craft. Then all of her great springs should be developed as are the spas of Europe.
Excerpt From: Agassiz, Garnault. "Florida in Tomorrow's Sun."
Suniland, Nov. 1925, Vol.3, No.2., Pgs. 37-45; 88-94; 113-133
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