Draft Plan for Recreational Diving at Wakulla Springs in Development

February 3, 2012 / Florida, United States, North America
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

Photo by National Park Service

News has emerged that the Florida Park Service is working to develop a draft plan for allowing limited recreational cave diving at Florida’s Wakulla Springs.

The draft plan does not indicate a decision by the Department of Environmental Protection to allow recreational diving, it merely shows that the park service are further considering the controversial issue further.

“This is not a final decision, we are simply continuing to look into it.” Scott Robinson, Assistant Director of the Florida Park Service

A public workshop last month to debate the issue saw over 250 people in attendance.

Located in Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park, the spring is one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world. The park contains an abundance of wildlife, including alligators, turtles, deer, and birds.

At the present time, only scientific research divers are allowed in the spring, and only with a special permit.

DEP to create draft plan for limited recreational cave diving at Wakulla Spring [Tallahassee.com]

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Comments (2)

  1. Karen Walls
    February 6, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Bad idea. The precious underwater environments of Wakulla Springs State Park belong to ALL the people of Florida, not to a very small number of recreational divers.

    The floor of the underwater caves is replete with Pleistocene megafaunal remains AND human artifacts associated with the megafauna. A thorough archaeological and paleontological study of Wakulla Springs underwater caves will be hugely important in understanding Pleistocene paleoecology and the arrival of humans in the New World. Wakulla Springs may yield some of the best information about early man in North America. However, no matter how ardently DEP may prohibit taking artifacts and fossils from the cave floor, the temptation for pilfering of these priceless objects will be too great for some of the divers. By the way, some of the fossils and spear points can bring up to $5,000 or more on the open market today. Hiding a paleo-spear-point or extinct lion jaw in one’s wetsuit is completely possible–and sadly–probable.

    • Kelly
      February 8, 2012 at 5:33 am

      I feel the DEP will have a well managed plan with appropriate carrying capacity. Why is the thought that recreational cave divers will take artifacts? I know several caves that have artifacts including pottery,that stays there to this day. Do we know that groups of permitted divers haven’t taken artifacts? I don’t think they have,nor do I think recreational cave divers will either. The DEP can have a plan by using guidelines to keep people away from sensitive areas. There is a win-win solution.

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