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Discover the Cross Florida Greenway!

imageThe Cross Florida Greenway is a 110 mile corridor of hiking trails, bicycle trails, equestrian trails, campgrounds and riverine trails that extends from the small section of completed barge canal near Palatka on Florida’s east coast to the small section of completed barge canal near Inglis on the west coast.   It didn’t start out as a recreational corridor–nor was it imagined to be a Florida State Park.  Today’s greenway was originally planned to be part of the Cross Florida Ship Canal to allow ships a shorter, safer passage across the northern peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.  Digging started in the 1930’s by the workers for Roosevelt’s New Deal, but it was later halted because opposing groups believed a deep ship canal would damage Florida’s limerock aquifer.  Later, in the 1960’s, the ship canal was reengineered to be a shallower barge canal to reduce the impact on the aquifer.  Years after the blasting began, the barge canal was halted forever in 1971.  This time, the opposing groups were lead by environmentalists, including Marjorie Harris Carr, who crusaded for the natural beauty of the Ocklawaha River.  I took this photograph of cloud reflections on the Ocklawaha River where it remains in its natural pristine state south of the small completed section of barge canal near Palatka.  With this global photo story, I salute the many people with the persistence to spare Florida’s aquifer from the polluting effects of a barge canal.    

By Stacey Gerhart

Stacey Gerhart, DVM is a veterinarian, world traveler and children's book author. Her fun and inspiring stories will leave you cheering for nature, wildlife, and protecting the planet. Stacey believes fiction pairs beautifully with non-fiction for parents and teachers to share stories with children to raise awareness about wildlife, environment, and sustainability.