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Published on: Love Letters to Florida

Dear Florida: Save Silver Springs

By Tim Shanahan, Ocala

When I moved my young family to Ocala in 1991 I fell in love with Silver Springs.

It was the largest natural aquifer-based in the world by volume. You could float down the Silver River or ride a glass-bottom boat and see straight to the bottom. All the fish, the stones, the grasses – whatever was there – was as easy to see as if it were in a glass of water. What a miraculous place I thought. To me, Silver Springs served as a reminder of what a paradise this state truly is.

Only 28 short years later, none of these things are true.

The water flow from the aquifer has slowed so it is no longer the biggest spring by volume. The quality of the water is so poor that algae covers and smothers everything in the river. All the forces at work trying to save and reverse this course of destruction are met with a fight and a big ‘No’ from our agencies tasked with preventing this horrific outcome in the first place.

It is a symbol of everything wrong that humans have caused, the wrong that did not use to be.