O'Leno State Park Reopens Trails After Flooding
Published April 3rd, 2014
HIGH SPRINGS- The Santa Fe River is reaching heights that are higher than usual in Spring.
"It does go up and down," said Walter Bickmeyer, whose house neighbors the Sante Fe River. Bickmeyer showed us a partially submerged dock which he says is a perfect example.
He said, "Usually you can walk out to that on land and obviously now that rear end is under water."
Bickmeyer said he's noticed water levels have risen about 3 to 5 inches. On Monday he told us, "It's a little higher than normal and this pond runs off of the river under ground and it came up quite a bit."
The O'Leno State Park in High Springs has also felt the effects of these higher waters. Last week, the water climbed to more than 43 feet above ground level, more than 10 feet above what is considered average. As a result, all of the park's trails were closed and getting in the water was off limits. This week with water levels slowly receding, only the northern stretch of the river remains closed.
O'Leno assistant park manager Terri Newmans said, "We are restricting access at the launch point at O'Leno just because of swift water and the inability to access our canoe launch."
Last year, swimming was often restricted because of high water. This spring, Newmans tells us visitors can expect areas of the park to be "constantly opening and closing." Newmans said, "When the water rises it does flood some of our interior trails so just to check it with the park before you head out into the trail system."
Levels will continue to fluctuate and Newmans says these ups and downs are normal this time of year. She says this weekend's rain will most likley lead to another increase in water levels within the next two days. O'Leno's northern entrance to the Santa Fe River is expected to be closed until then.
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