Tag Archives: Creek

Trailmarker Tree Trails 2020-11-04

Second of a series of posts from Dr. Ken Sulak, USGS, retired. He is aware that Indian Trailmarker Trees are still speculative. Maybe with enough examples we can all determine whether they are what they seem to be. Please send pictures and locations of any trailmarker trees you may have seen, especially along old trails that crossed the Alapaha, Withlacoochee, Little, Suwannee, or Santa Fe Rivers, such as Old Coffee Road or various versions of El Camino Real.

[Old Trails]
Old Trails

Thanks for your reply. The trailmarker tree thing is an offshoot of my research on historic settler fords, ferries and bridges. Certainly early settlers traded with Seminoles and followed their trails. This Motte map is one of the few I have encountered that shows trails from GA coming into FL. There has also been more published on the ‘Alachua Trail’ figured in the next map. But that is of less interest to me because folks using that trail were primarily headed to the St. Johns River area—a distinct migration thing from the GA and SC folks headed for ‘Middle Florida’ where the best farm land and ample water was available.

I have been trying to confine my studies and field explorations to that area—but have inevitably gotten involved with what was happening in S GA. I have made several foot and solo kayak trips to the GA/FL border, and up into GA a bit now.

Many coming south from GA crossed into Spanish FL at Warners (Beauforts, Hornes) Ferry over the Withlacoochee, then headed south to Deadman’s Bay (Steinhatchee) to boil down salt water to make several barrels full of salt to take back to GA in wagons. This is one of the several ‘Old Salt Trails’ that later immigrant settlers used. All six of the so-far discovered trailmarker trees fall right on one of the dotted trails in this map

[1838 Motte Seminole War trail map]
Motte’s 1838 Seminole War map showing trails with dotted lines.

Warners Ferry or Horn’s Ferry was near where the current Horn Bridge is over the Withlacoochee River just upstream of State Line Boat Ramp and the GA-FL line.

I asked Ken a few questions, including: Continue reading

Searching for Trailmarker Trees 2020-11-02

Here’s the first of a series of posts from Dr. Ken Sulak, USGS, retired, whom you may remember we’ve quoted before about sturgeon jumping in the Suwannee River. He’s got several new pursuits that entwine with Suwannee River Basin rivers, and he’s asking for your assistance. He is aware that Indian Trailmarker Trees are still speculative. Maybe with enough examples we can all determine whether they are what they seem to be.

WWALS riverrats –

While exploring old bridge and ferry sites along the Suwannee River and its tributaries, I have encountered five unmistakable Indian Trailmarker Trees (and Brack Barker has shown me a sixth). I won’t say I discovered these, because some human first shaped each, and thousands of Indians and early settlers used these manmade landmarks to navigate through South Georgia and Florida’s 27 million acres of seemingly endless and trackless primordial Longleaf Pine Forest. Sure, there were Indian trails that the settlers also followed, like the Alachua Trail and the Old Salt Road (plural). But that was not necessarily easy. No welcome to Florida signs back then, no road signs, no road maps, no GPS — although the sun and stars provided compass directions.

[Trailmarker Trees, How To, and old map]
Trailmarker Trees, How To, and old map

The noted naturalist Herbert Stoddard came to Florida with his family as a small boy in 1893. Florida became a US Territory in 1822, with settlers arriving in droves thereafter. But even as late as 1893, there were few real roads to follow. Stoddard recalls: “Came a long ride in a horse-drawn wagon over bumpy, one-track roads through the longleaf woods … They were crooked as snakes, for every time a pine tree fell across the road, Continue reading

Mining Ruined Family Field –Charles F. Arwood, 2019-10-23

Another letter in the Charlton County Herald, October 23, 2019, same issue as the letter posted previously. You can send your own letter to the editor or comment to the Army Corps or GA-EPD.

[Lawtey, FL, Highland Mine, Chemours]
Lawtey, FL, Highland Mine, Chemours, google earth.

Mining Ruined Family Field

Dear Editor,

Let me start out by saying that I have not been a part of any protests that have been going on. I don’t think anyone can foresee if the proposed strip mining will actually harm the swamp. We probably won’t know until many years have passed. Only time will truly tell.

However, I can say that the strip mining by Dupont in Bradford County did do a lot of harm to my Grandfather’s strawberry farm! My Grandfather owned a farm that joined Dupont’s Continue reading

Moody AFB sewage spill, Mission Lake 2019-08-06

Did you know Moody Air Force Base had two sewage spills this month? Thanks to GA-EPD, we knew about them, and Moody AFB posted news reports on both of them. One went into Mission Lake, upstream from Grand Bay and the Alapaha River. The other went into Beatty Branch, upstream from Cat Creek and the Withlacoochee River.

[Building 769 and Mission Lake]
Building 769 and Mission Lake

23d Wing Public Affairs, News, 7 August 2019, Sewage Spill Notification, Continue reading

Canoeing from the Little to the Chee by Burt Kornegay 2018-03-24

Received April 6, 2018, posted with permission. -jsq

When I called the Canoe Outpost on the Suwannee River in Florida to ask if they would give me a shuttle up to the Little River at Reed Bingham State Park, in Georgia, the woman on the other end said, “You want to start up there?” I told her my plan was to canoe the Little River from where it left Reed Bingham down to its confluence with the Withlacoochee, then follow the Withlacoochee to the Suwannee. “I’ve worked here 27 years,” she exclaimed, “and this might be the first!”

Spotted, Arriving
Photo: Kathy Hubbard of Burt Kornegay arriving at Troupville Boat Ramp, March 24, 2018.

It turns out that, although many paddlers ply the Withlacoochee and the Suwannee with their blades, the adjective “little” in the name Little River means, in part, little paddled.

I’d had this trip in mind for years, and one reason lies in that Continue reading

FERC requires Sabal Trail report mixing of Randy Dowdy’s subsoil and topsoil

Bad news doubled for the little pipeline that cried wolf: FERC did not file any certificates today for Sabal Trail, and Brooks County farmer Randy Dowdy is vindicated with a letter from FERC demanding a plan from Sabal Trailwithin 20 days” (emphasis in the original) for “for investigating the actual extent of the topsoil and subsoil mixing on the Dowdy and Robinson properties and the reported mixing on the Jones property.”

Sabal Trail through Randy Dowdy fields and Little Creek, Google Map
Map: Google, of Sabal Trail pipeline through Randy Dowdy’s soybean fields, next to Little Creek, which runs into Okapilco Creek, into the Withlacoochee River, into the Suwannee, to the Gulf.

That letter refers to an inspection report of November 14, 2017, also filed by FERC today, that documents that “topsoil and subsoil mixing has occurred in agricultural areas during construction of Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC’s (Sabal Trail) Sabal Trail Pipeline Project.”

FERC has thus validated Continue reading

Earl Wetherington Foot Bridge

Maybe this bridge was named for Earl Wetherington Foot, since it has vehicular traffic. Since I can’t find any mention of such a person, maybe it was named for Earl Wetherington (1925-2013) and once upon a time was a foot bridge. Anyway, it’s on Gornto Road in Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, over Sugar Creek, slightly upstream from the Withlacoochee River.

Bridge, Over Sugar Creek

Bridge, Over Sugar Creek

It was closed in the “700-year” flood of 2013, which followed the “700-year” flood of 2009 (I think it was closed then, too). Continue reading

Sasser Landing to Jennings Bluff & Dead River Sink 2015-06-14

See three sinks, a waterfall, and a distributary in these videos from the WWALS Outing to Turket Creek Waterfall, the Alapahoochee River, the Alapaha River Sink, and the Dead River Sink, June 14, 2015. A WWALS video playlist follows the links to each video below. Continue reading

Valdosta report of spill at Cherry Creek Lift Station 2017-09-12

City Council Tim Carroll forwarded me the appended press release yesterday. I assumed it would be on Valdosta’s News page, but it is not.

Goodyear (Skipper Bridge) Station

Also, despite assurances back in January that Continue reading

Cherry Creek & Stillhouse Branch, Lift Station, Sinks, Withlacoochee River

Why should anyone downstream care about an obscure creek north of Valdosta? Because it runs past sinkholes that leak into the Floridan Aquifer, into the Withlacoochee River, then into the Suwannee River, then into the Gulf of Mexico, going by all seven of the downstream Florida counties that passed resolutions asking the state of Florida to do something about Valdosta wastewater, not to mention neighborhoods and wetlands closer to the recent Cherry Creek Lift Station sewage leak, which was at least smaller than previous spills.

Cherry Creek, Withlacoochee River, Suwannee River, Gulf of Mexico

Cherry Creek, Withlacoochee River, Suwannee River, Gulf of Mexico

The orange red-circled disk shows Continue reading