Published January 7, 2014
The waters of Silver Springs are still flowing, the cormorants are still out sunning themselves on logs, and the famous glass bottom boats are still gliding over the head spring. While on the surface things appear as they always have, October of 2013 has sent ripples of change throughout the park, which will affect it for years to come. Silver Springs is now officially a State Park, refocusing its priorities on nature conservation and education.The timeline for park improvements is still being adjusted, as both the repairs needed and the budget are at this time being prioritized. While the State Park system is overseeing the demolitions, some of the repairs and environmental concerns they are working in partnership with the new park concession, Silver Springs Management, LLC. who also has a focus to revive the park in visitor numbers as well.
Silver Springs Management (SSM) is an extension of What’s Up Media, and has successfully begun operations at the park. It is their intention to use the park as a flagship property for ecotourism, drawing on the springs’ natural beauty to attract visitors to the area. SSM plans to offer package trips wherein local outfitters and lodging companies will partner to provide kayaking, horseback riding, and overnight stays, giving out-of-town or international guests a glimpse of Marion County’s wild areas. Ecotourism is a growing trend in travel, and these trips will give guests a chance to get away from the lights and the noise of Orlando, and appreciate one of Florida’s oldest tourist destinations.
For day visitors, SSM is currently providing kayaking, hiking, and glass bottom boat rides. As in most State Parks, well-mannered dogs kept on a 6-foot leash are welcome on the trails. There is a natural and cultural resources education center and food is available in the park. Read the water softener reviews for more information.