Dowling Park River Camp, Suwannee River, Lafayette County, FL 2019-06-20

Some features were surprising at Dowling Park River Camp, during #PaddleGA2019.

[From below]
From below

The bathrooms are on wheels!

[Trailer hitch]
Trailer hitch

So they can easily be wheeled away if high water is impending.

They have air conditioning!

[Air conditioner high up]
Air conditioner high up

And instant-on hot water.

[Instant-on water heater]
Instant-on water heater

According to SRWMD on Dowling Park River Camp,

The Dowling Park River Camp is the third river camp between White Springs and Branford and provides 5 screened shelters, a picnic pavilion, restrooms with hot showers, and a tent-camping area.

The sleeping platforms are quite elevated.


Except one that has ramp access.

[And the fifth one]
And the fifth one

The bathrooms also have a ramp.


According to Florida State Parks on River Camps,

Dowling Park river camp is 14.7 river miles from Suwannee River State Park and is located right across the river from the Advent Christian Village in the town of Dowling Park. Because of the unique features of this location, four of the five screened platforms are raised high into the tree tops. This cozy river camp is memorable!

Of course there are fire pits, benches, and tables.

[Fire pit]
Fire pit

A caretaker lives in an RV nearby.


A few days earlier, Edwin McCook of SRWMD, who invented the idea, revealed that each River Camp on the Suwannee River cost about $500,000, with bathrooms with hot and cold air conditioned showers, and screened elevated sleeping platforms.

From the beach you can see CR 250, with Dowling Park Boat Ramp, our takeout for that second to last day on #PaddleGA2019.

[CR 250 bridge in distance]
CR 250 bridge in distance

There are more pictures on the WWALS website.

Maybe we should have one of these river camps at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, next to Troupville Boat Ramp, just west across I-75 from Valdosta, GA. That approximately 70 acres is available for about $100,000, because it’s all floodplain. As you can see above, that didn’t stop SRWMD from building Dowling Park River Camp.

Landing park plan. See Florida State Parks River Camps for the idea: raised and screened sleeping platforms, with electricity, and nearby toilets, showers, and hot and cold running water, accessible by boat. There are potential sources of funds for the total of about $600,000.

After all, Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter and Valdosta City Council Tim Carroll for Mayor John Gayle spoke highly of these rivers at that Confluence on the first day of #PaddleGA2019.

      Valdosta and Lowndes County meet Paddle Georgia
Don Davis of Lowndes County Historical Society, Valdosta City Council Tim Carroll speaking for Mayor Gayle, Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter, Gwyneth Moody speaking for Paddle Georgia and Georgia River Network.

We have offers of assistance from downstream Florida counties, who understand that a River Camp next to Valdosta would encourage people to come boat down the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers, some staying in local motels, eating in local restaurants, and buying in local stores in Lowndes and Brooks Counties, Georgia, connecting up down the Withlacoochee River through Hamilton and Madison Counties, Florida, with the River Camps on the Suwannee River, for cross-state ecotourism. River Camps are also a water quality feature, because those bathrooms keep people from using the woods.


What’s not to like?

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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