Monday, February 17, 2014

Blue Spring State Park Manatee Refuge

Today while ”sonny-do” also known as Anthony worked on his list of home and yard projects for Janet she and I hit the road for a quick bite to eat and then on to the Blue Spring State Park.  The park is touted as Florida’s premier manatee refuge.  It is the winter home to more than 200 manatees.  We learned that a ranger in a canoe counts them each day and today there were 137.  The refuge is tucked within 2,643 acres and includes a lagoon, 15 natural communities, a north-flowing river and a first-magnitude spring.

Janet and I strolled along the one-third mile boardwalk that follows the flowing Blue Spring that runs through a shady hardwood hammock.  At this time of year the manatees swim, rest and play in the warm 72 degree waters.  Blue Spring is a first magnitude spring that discharges 104 million gallons of water daily into the St. Johns River.

Blue Spring is the habitat for at least 15 threatened or endangered plants and animals.  The park is the winter refuge for the West Indian manatee, home to Florida scrub jay, gopher tortoise, black bear and one of only two known locations for the Okeechobee gourd.  It was a lovely stroll along the boardwalk and we really enjoyed seeing the manatee undisturbed as they enjoyed the warm waters that the spring offers.

Tonight we are having dinner with friends of Janet’s at Angelina's Pizzeria Ristorante in Deland.

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