Tag Archives: Big Shoals State Park

Pictures: Suwannee River Wilderness Trail at Lafayette County Florida State Parks Open House Public Meeting 2023-10-26

Learned a few things in this last of the FDEP series of county meetings about state parks, (almost) the only one that also included the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail and its River Camps.

[Posters and personnel]
Posters and personnel

We also talked about the previous day’s meeting, in Hamilton County, which included Big Shoals State Park. Moving the portage around Big Shoals from Columbia County to Hamilton County, on the right bank of the Suwannee River, is now merely a discussion topic, not a plan. They do want to do something to improve the exit from the portage back into the river. The jagged and slippery limestone rocks are a safety issue. One possibility is steps like at the Big Shoals Tract Launch. They didn’t like my suggestion of just put in some posts with a chain for people to use to get down to the river. But steps would be great. Continue reading

Big Shoals State Park, move portage to Hamilton County, meeting 2023-10-25

Today, in White Springs, Florida State Parks is holding a public meeting about Big Shoals State Park and Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center.

I have a prior engagement, but you may want to go.

When: 3-7 PM, Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Where: White Springs Tourism Building, 10499 Spring Street, White Springs, Florida 32096

More: https://floridadep.gov/parks/public-participation

[Maps and Flyer, Hamilton County Parks Meeting, Big Shoals State Park 2023-10-25]
Maps and Flyer, Hamilton County Parks Meeting, Big Shoals State Park 2023-10-25

The agenda is basically show up, look at the materials, ask questions. Continue reading

Hurricane Idalia: State Parks Closed, Georgia and Florida 2023-09-02

Stir crazy from staying in due to Hurricane Idalia and want to go to a state park?

Many of them are open, but some remain closed, in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia and Florida.

Or come to the WWALS Banks Lake Morning Paddle 2023-09-04.

[Georgia and Florida State Parks Closed 2023-09-02]
Georgia and Florida State Parks Closed 2023-09-02

According to Georgia State Parks Weather Alerts – Hurricane Idalia:

Continue reading

Pictures: Portage Big Shoals, Paddle Little Shoals, Suwannee River 2023-05-20

We saw the lally columns of Old Godwin Bridge, Bell Springs Run, Robinson Creek, Falling Creek, and we portaged around Big Shoals and paddled through Little Shoals, on the Suwannee River to White Springs Wayside Park Ramp, in a WWALS outing, Saturday, May 20, 2023.

[Launch, Big Shoals, Little Shoals, Falling Creek, Wayside Park, Suwannee River 2023-05-20]
Launch, Big Shoals, Little Shoals, Falling Creek, Wayside Park, Suwannee River 2023-05-20

Everyone had a good time in the balmy, breezy, partly-cloudy weather. The White Springs Gauge read 51.5 feet, which was perfect.

Plus a few small alligators.

Thanks to Dennis James Price for leading this one, and for pointing out the excellent lunch spot just below Big Shoals. Continue reading

Big Shoals and Little Shoals, Suwannee River, 2023-05-20

Update 2023-05-30: Pictures: Portage Big Shoals, Paddle Little Shoals, Suwannee River 2023-05-20.

Join us as we portage around Big Shoals, the biggest rapids in Florida, and paddle through Little Shoals on the Suwannee River.

Practicing Geologist Dennis J. Price of Hamilton County will lead us past the lally columns of Old Godwin Bridge. Two thirds of a mile later, we will take out just before Big Shoals, and portage a quarter mile through the woods. Paddlers in good health should be able to do this. We do not recommend it for small children. We will be portaging: if you want to paddle through Big Shoals, do it on a different trip.

Then we’ll paddle past several creeks, including Bell Springs Run and Falling Creek.

About 3.5 miles downstream from Big Shoals, we’ll paddle through Little Shoals, which can get up to Class II rapids. Plus there’s another little rapid just before the railroad bridge and the US 41 bridge.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, end 2 PM, Saturday, May 20, 2023

Put In: Big Shoals Tract Launch, From White Springs, travel north on CR 135 to SE 94 Street (Godwin Bridge Road); turn right and follow road to Big Shoals, in Hamilton County, Florida.

GPS: 30.353167, -82.687333

[Big Shoals pictures from 2021-05-19]
Big Shoals pictures from 2021-05-19

Continue reading

Big Shoals Scouting, Suwannee River 2021-05-14

Bring boat wheels and be ready for a half-mile portage around Big Shoals in the WWALS outing tomorrow.

[Portage Now, Big Shoals, Beach eddy, Banner at beach below shoals]
Portage Now, Big Shoals, Beach eddy, Banner at beach below shoals

That’s the conclusion from the Friday scouting organized by Park Manager Manny Perez and Randy Madison of Florida Trails, in conjunction with WWALS Intern Bobby McKenzie and Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. Park Ranger Peter Shanks led Randy, Bobby, and me to three possible put-ins below BIG Shoals. The third one is best, with a nice slope to a beach.

We are all for reasonable accommodation per our WWALS nondiscrimination policy, which in this case means you’ll need to be able to climb up at the take-out before the shoals, pull your boat for a half mile, including dragging it over a couple of rough spots, and slide it back into the water at the beach put-in. We can help, but you’ll need to do most of the work, because we’ll be pulling our own boats.

Click on any of the small pictures below to see a bigger one. There’s also a google map of the locations of these pictures. Continue reading

Big Shoals, Suwannee River, Florida, 2021-05-19

Update 2022-09-08: Nice day for a portage around Big Shoals, Suwannee River 2021-05-19.

Update 2021-05-18: It’s a half mile portage, so bring boat wheels and be prepared to haul over some rough spots down to the beach of the two gators.

Paddle to and portage past the biggest rapids in Florida: Big Shoals and Little Shoals on the Suwannee River, on this short weekday trip.

[Big Shoals, 20 and 21 Feb 2021, Map]
Big Shoals, 20 and 21 Feb 2021, Map

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, end 2 PM, Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Put In: Big Shoals Tract Launch.
From White Springs, travel north on CR 135 to SE 94 Street (Godwin Bridge Road); turn right and follow road to Big Shoals, in Hamilton County.

GPS: 30.353167, -82.687333

Portage: The portage is 400 feet long.
Participants must be able to carry everything they bring from the beginning of the portage to the re-launch. Also must have fairly good physical conditioning and balance to climb up and down banks to re-launch.

Shirley Kokidko, experienced with this section of the Suwannee, says, “I’m 65 and I can do it, but it’s not easy, and takes a good bit of teamwork to get everybody re-launched. No children. Let’s keep this group to a safe number. On a weekday that probably won’t be a problem.”

Everyone must have a bowline, rope of any sort, very much needed to help lower boats back into the water after the portage. Continue reading