Why Pot Spring is closed 2020-07-20

Update 2020-07-30 Pot Spring still closed 2020-07-29.

WWALS member Scotti Jay wanted to know why Pot Spring Tract is closed, after he saw a closed sign a week ago.

[Pot Spring on WWALS WLRWT map]
Pot Spring on WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT) map

So I called Edwin McCook, Sr. Land Management Specialist, at the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD). He said it’s just routine thinning of planted pines. Since the entrance road is narrow and dirt, it’s difficult for vehicles to get in and out past logging trucks, so the road is closed for safety. The thinning should be done in a few days.

[Closed sign]
Photo: Scotti Jay, Closed sign

He also volunteered that SRWMD has hired security through Labor Day, due to recent episodes of vandalism. People have been arrested and charged for that lately, so please don’t tear up things.

Pot Spring is next to the Withlacoochee River about half way between Madison Blue Spring and Madison Ramp, in Hamilton County, Florida.

[SRWMD map of Pot Spring Tract]
SRWMD map of Pot Spring Tract
On SRWMD website.

This tree thinning apparently is unrelated to the recent work SRWMD did at Pot Spring.

SRWMD, PR, May 29, 2020, Pot Spring Tract Open to Public with Improvements,

[Pot Spring Stairs]
Pot Spring Stairs

LIVE OAK, FLA., May 29, 2020 — The Suwannee River Water Management District (District) completed a restoration project at Pot Spring to reduce sediment runoff and improve the spring’s water quality. The project included updating a deck and boardwalk and is estimated to reduce nutrient by 69 pounds per year.

“By reducing the nutrient runoff in the spring, we are improving the water quality and enhancing the spring for the environment and people,” said Hugh Thomas, Executive Director of the District. “Reduced sediment runoff will allow native submerged plants to grow naturally and provide a habitat for animals and aquatic life.”

This project not only improves water quality, but also improves public safety and access to the spring. The wooden structure previously at the spring was replaced with a concrete deck and boardwalk. A parking lot is now defined further away from the spring to prevent erosion from vehicle traffic. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection funded $183,600 and the District funded $90,650 to complete the project.

Pot Spring is a part of the 1,162 acre Withlacoochee Tract located in Hamilton County on State Road 6 on the eastern side of the Withlacoochee River. This tract is managed by the Florida Forest Service as a part of Twin Rivers State Forest. The Pot Spring Tract is a day use area that features a trailhead for a 7-mile horseback riding trail, a primitive campsite with picnic tables, and a grill for overnight camping by boaters.

The mission of the Suwannee River Water Management District is to protect and manage water resources using science-based solutions to support natural systems and the needs of the public. The District holds true to the belief of water for nature, water for people. Headquartered in Live Oak, Florida, the District serves 15 surrounding north-central Florida counties.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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