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District re-opening popular Econfina Creek rec sites

The Northwest Florida Water Management District is re-opening three of its most popular recreation sites along Econfina Creek on Saturday.

The day-use recreation sites at Williford Spring, Pitt/Sylvan springs, and Blue Spring will each re-open at 8 a.m. Saturday. All three day-use sites will return to normal operating hours (8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week).

“We are so lucky to live in this part of the state and to have access to some of the most beautiful springs in Florida,” said George Roberts, chairman of the District’s Governing Board. “For the thousands and thousands of our neighbors who were impacted by Hurricane Michael, re-opening these sites will hopefully provide another small step back to normal.”

The sites at Williford and Pitt/Sylvan springs took extensive damage from Michael, and the District staggered cleanup efforts to allow for public access during the warmer months.

With the re-opening, visitors can use the picnic pavilions, composting toilets, boardwalks, and nature trails. Both sites include stair access to the springs for swimming. (A trail and boardwalk to Sylvan Spring remains temporarily closed.)

“I grew up swimming in the springs up and down Econfina Creek and I know how special they are for the people in northwest Florida,” said Governing Board member Nick Patronis, who represents Bay and Washington counties. “Providing safe public access to the springs on lands we manage is one of the most important missions we have at the water management district.”

The cleanup work at Blue Spring coincided with a previously planned restoration project. In addition to renovating the day-use site at Blue Spring, District staff added three new campsites – each available for free through an online reservation system.

The Blue Spring day-use site features an ADA-compliant ramp and stairs for access to the spring, three picnic pavilions, portable toilets, and parking. Improvements to the site also include an overlook deck with a view of the spring vent and a pedestrian bridge over a separate karst feature.

All three recreation sites can be accessed off State Road 20 between State Road 77 and U.S. Route 231. For more information on these sites and for instructions on how to reserve a campsite, visit: https://nwfwater.com/Lands/Recreation