Traveling across Florida, voyaging to one part or another, the destination had sometimes started as a random act of pointing on a map or triangulating a position and time. This past Sunday, after wrapping up a trip to Honey Moon Island beaches, Silver River State Park that had fallen closer than the next possible hop of White Springs. Generally known as Silver Springs, this park had gone through various management in recent years, hoping to become a financially viable operation; however, this last attempt had left the property back in the hands of the state.
Having drove past this location before, I had thought, ”What a good way to cool out in 90 degree weather.” After some misdirection from Google maps, I had driven around the perimeter of this property to the enormous sign for the entrance. After making it through the front gate, I had noticed the parking lot eerily vacate for a warm Sunday afternoon. At first, I had written this off to recent changes. The opening facade over a wooden boardwalk had looked impressive with towering oak trees for a backdrop.
Walking into the promenade, concessions had continued operating. Walking over to the glass bottom boat river launch, we had asked an employee where to go for a dip. A gentleman there had mentioned somewhere further down the river. Walking down the concrete sidewalks next to the river, I had seen an old fenced-in area, perhaps for a giraffe or other exotic animal. In the far distance, I had noticed a two-story plantation style house. The house lawn had apparently provided a setting for a concert or two. Walking down the far end of the sidewalk, I had noticed something remarkably non-existent. I had seen no means of descending into the crystal blue waters of the Silver River. Turning around, I had decided to walk back to find a park employee for further inquiry. Upon returning to the promenade, we had approached another employee. We had asked where to go for a swim. The polite lady had responded ”I don’t know, I just started working here a few days ago.” Then we had approached a small nest of workers inside the last door in the plaza. The cordial ladies had answered the question regarding swimming, ”Maybe in the future.” I thought to myself, “You got to be kidding, a fresh water spring park, no swimming?” No wonder this venue had lost money. With Juniper Springs recreation area a few miles away, that had been one big reason for the lack of visitors. As Paul Harvey had stated eloquently many times,” That’s the rest of the story.”