Chervil Drive Distributary, Withlacoochee River 2022-01-13

Update 2022-01-21: Blue Sink, Sullivan Slough –Susan Liden 2021-01-18.

Another Withlacoochee River distributary to a sinkhole! This one revealed by WWALS member and archaeologist Tom Baird. I’m calling it Chervil Drive Distributary because we don’t know any more traditional or official name for it. It’s downstream from the Chitty Bend East Distributary and on the other side of the river.

[Chervil Distributary, Withlacoochee River, Madison County, FL]
Chervil Distributary, Withlacoochee River, Madison County, FL, in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

Another interesting feature is further down river on the right bank about a mile above Madison Blue Springs. At flood, water pours through a gap in the limestone bank and floods a large channel that goes back to a deep sink. The weight of water in the past broke through the ceiling of a cavern and created a beautiful, clear, good-sized swimming hole. It was evidently a popular swimming and picnic spot in the past. Don’t know the correct name of the feature; my wife and I call it “Thanksgiving Spring”, because we found it while hiking around one Thanksgiving Day. However, it’s not a spring (no water comes from it), but an opening to the water table. Nice and cool on a hot day. J

[Between Florida Campsites Ramp and Madison Blue Springs State Park Launch]
0.83 miles downstream from Florida Campsites Ramp and 0.84 miles upstream from Madison Blue Springs State Park Launch, in the WWALS WLRWT map.

You can see it on the aerial and also see the pull off where people can park. The feature is about the size of 2 or 3 tennis courts. It’s clearly very deep. The flood channel off the river circles around and circumscribes a donut shape. Large cypress trees grow in the deep ravine and there is evidence of cypress having been harvested there at one time. Extremely large cypress tree stumps with cuts about waist high. The area around Chervil Drive is geologically active with new small sinkholes and slumps opening up regularly.

The distributary track wasn’t that obvious to me, so I drew an approximation and Tom confirmed it.

In the same email messages Tom also wrote about another feature we’ll come back to later:

The remains of the old road over to Hamilton County is just down Chervil with the concrete bridge abutments still on both sides of the river. Next to those are the remains of the ferry landing that was once there. Beyond that is Madison Blue Springs State Park.

Tom Baird

Author of A Year on the Bay – St. Joseph Bay, Cape San Blas and the Beaches – Available on Amazon and area book stores.

Meanwhile, if you have pictures of this distributary, or anything else related, let us know.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

1 thought on “Chervil Drive Distributary, Withlacoochee River 2022-01-13

  1. Pingback: Blue Sink, Sullivan Slough –Susan Liden 2021-01-18 | WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) is Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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