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Beautiful Rock Bluff Springs opens to the public

Friday morning, May 31 a ribbon cutting which marked the official opening of the J. H. Anderson, Jr. Memorial Park Rock Bluff Springs was held. Citizens from throughout the area, members of the Alachua Conservation Trust, and Suwannee River Water Management District were all in attendance.
The Suwannee River Water Management District acquired the 175 acre property back in 2017, for $2,908,378.58, from the Joe Anderson family. Nearly half the money for this land purchase came from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Joey and Doug Anderson attended the ribbon cutting for the park that has been named for their late father J. H. Anderson, Jr. Known locally as Mr. Joe Anderson, he was the founder of Anderson Columbia Company. He was well known in the area for his charity to those in need.
The water management district has developed a plan for the Alachua Conservation Trust to manage the property and spring for the next ten years.
Rock Bluff Springs is a second magnitude spring with a 700 foot spring run to the Suwannee River. The beautiful clear spring has large cypress trees growing in it. The land is dotted with numerous karst windows opening into the aquifer surrounded by large Live Oak trees, palmettos and magnolias. The main spring is oval shaped and is thirty foot deep. Those visiting the spring will enjoy the dirt road drive to the spring through the beautiful Florida woodland.
During the event several people spoke including Tom Kay, the Executive Director of the Alachua Conservation Trust, as well as Hugh Thomas, the Executive Director of the Suwannee River Water Management District. Eric Draper, the Director of the Florida State Parks system, also spoke at the event. Draper said there are 175 state parks in Florida which include some 800,000 acres. He went on to speak about the basin swamp ecosystem and hardwood hammocks included in the Rock Bluff Springs property.
Future plans for the park include adding a walking trail system and bathrooms. Currently fencing and gates have been added at the entrance and near the spring. Also there is a rope and float line that marks the designated swimming area and boats will not allowed in this area.
At the gate of the property an Iron Ranger has been installed so visitors can pay $4 for single vehicle with 1-7 individuals, $5 for single vehicle with 8 individuals, $2 for additional passengers in a single vehicle exceeding 8 individuals, $2 for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Citizens are asked to take home any trash that they bring. Those attending and the public were asked to help police the park and to contact the Suwannee River Water Management District or the Alachua Conservation Trust if they see any park rules being broken.
Rules include park hours from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m., dogs allowed only if on leash, hunting and trapping are not allowed and consumption or other use of alcoholic beverage, intoxicants and unlawful drugs or substance is forbidden. ATVs, golf carts and littering are prohibited on the property. There are no lifeguards at the spring so swimming is at your own risk and no pets are allowed in swimming area.
J. H. Anderson, Jr. Memorial Park Rock Bluff Springs is located at 6560 CR 340, Bell. The entrance is on the right hand side of 340 just before the Rock Bluff Store and the bridge when traveling west.

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