*Information provided by Florida State Parks’ Website www.floridastateparks.org/ichetuckneesprings
The Ichetucknee River was originally used thousands of years ago by Native Americans. The river’s recorded history begins with the Mission de San Martin de Timucua. This mission, built in 1608, was a Spanish/Native American village that served the Spanish settlement of St. Augustine. In the 1800s settlers and travelers would quench their thirst in the river. During the end of the 19th century, Ft. White began to flourish with life centering around the river. Families would visit the river to bathe, swim, hunt, fish, and worship. In late 1890s and early 1900s, Ft. White developed a large phosphate industry. Throughout the first half of the 20th century the forests of the Ichetucknee were harvested by local timber industries. The state purchased the park in 1970 from the Loncala Corporation for $1,850,000 (Wikipedia, 2011) . In 1972, the U.S. Department of the Interior declared the Ichetucknee Spring a National Natural Landmark.
Plants & Wildlife
Wildlife at the park includes white tailed deer, raccoons, wild turkeys, wood ducks, great blue herrons, turtles, river otters, west indian manatees (winter months), cray fish, bream, bluegill, largemouth bass, mullet, catfish, and minnows. The type of activity you are participating in (i.e. tubing, hiking, picnicking) determines which type of wildlife you’ll witness.
There are 3 main trails at the Ichetucknee State Park:
Dogs are allowed in the park as long as they are well behaved and kept on a 6 foot least at all times. They cannot be left unattended for more than half an hour. Dogs are permitted only on the Trestle Point and Pine Ridge Trails.
There is a full service concession stand at the south entrance of the part that is open every day during the summer. Hours of operation vary during the slow seasons. The concession stand does not rent tubes, canoes, masks, or snorkels. If you’d rather bring your own meal there are picnicking spots at both the north and south entrances of the park. Grills are available at the picknicking areas. Tables are usually first come first serve but can be reserved ahead of time.
Swimming is available at the north entrance at either the Ichetucknee Head Spring or the Blue Hole Spring. Blue Hole Spring should be used only by experienced swimmers only.