Paddling a Hedden Gem!

A Hidden Gem

Crystal clear water, pristine forest, all exploding with the sounds of nature!

The central part of Florida holds many natural attractions for its visitors. These prime attractions are countless natural springs that are going to keep you spellbound whenever you paddle them!

You will be surprised to know that there are more than 600 springs in Florida. Some of the most-visited and most significant springs are managed and owned by the Division of Recreation and Parks for the State of Florida's Department of Environmental Protection. Whether you visit Florida in winter or summer, during a cold snap or heatwave, the spring waters' temperature remains constant at around 70 to 73 degrees. These springs are enjoyed by the people and tourists during the summer as well as in winter.

These springs appear in many shapes, sizes, and magnitudes. Some springs are artesian in nature, flowing millions of gallons per minute, some springs bubble up slowly between your toes in the sand, while others are entirely underground and never seen. Many of these springs are hidden from sight all over central Florida, while others are out for all to see.

Virtually all of these springs are pure, clear, clean, and breathtaking, with a constant temperature of about 72 degrees. Many of the springs I speak of are undiscovered treasures, hidden by dense forest, mostly undisturbed or state-owned areas left in natural settings. Florida purchases large parcels for their strategic location, such as natural watersheds, springs, lakes, rivers, and other highly critical ecosystems responsible for Florida's freshwater sources. Many of Florida's springs are owned by private citizens and industry as well.

Central Florida's springs, rivers, lakes, ponds, and the like, are delivered by aquifer water stored in the central Florida earth as underground water tables or "aquifer systems." Many call the aquifer systems, underground rivers because the water within the aquifer systems can move at a considerable flow rate, such as a river. Aquifers can be thought of as vast caverns of permeable rock, "containing" water and creating hydrogeological movement through holes within the rock due to naturally developed "head" pressures.

Some of Florida's rivers disappear entirely only to surface again downstream. This can happen when a sinkhole develops in a river bed. The river can be swallowed completely, with no sign it ever existed. Then, as suddenly as it disappeared, it reappears and continues flowing at the surface.

Chris Sgaraglino

Over the past 37 years of my adult life, I have gained a very diverse portfolio of adventures from which I have been blessed to be a participant. This wealth of experience and knowledge has defined my character, my morals and values, and my healthy respect for people and the great outdoors. It is a true definition of an Outdoorsman!