Florida Pontoon Notes

The Ocklawaha River

The Ocklawaha River

The Ocklawaha River is the principal tributary of the St. Johns River. Its main source is Lake Griffin, part of the Harris chain of lakes in Lake County, Florida. The Ocklawaha River watershed includes parts of the Green Swamp, most of Lake County, and portions of Marion, Alachua, and Putnam counties. The key tributary to the Ocklawaha is the Silver River, which originates in Silver Springs, Fl.

During the 1800’s and early 1900s, steamboats populated the winding river, bringing folks from Palatka to Silver Springs. These boats were small and narrow in order to navigate the many twisting turns. The Hart Line was the most popular, as was Lucas Line as well. With the arrival of the railroad to Ocala, Florida the steamboat popularity declined. On many of today’s maps, several of the landings where the steamboats picked up passengers are still listed.

Marjorie Harris Carr, past president of Florida Defenders of the Environment played a key role in fighting against the continuing of The Florida Barge Canal through the Ocklawaha River.

In January of 1971, a federal judge issued an injunction that stopped the construction of the canal. This was immediately followed by President Richard Nixon officially halting construction due to the environmental damage it would cause. Today the Rodman Dam, now the Kirkpatrick Dam, is a reminder of the fight that continues to this day to have the dam removed. The fight to save the Ocklawaha River has inspired many artists, poets, and musicians over the years to include Will McLean, Gamble Rogers, Don Grooms, and Whitey Markle.

The 74 mile Ocklawaha River is a must-do boating adventure for those interested in ‘Old Florida’. Its history is rich as are the wildlife and surrounding forests.

 

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Pon Tiki MonThe Ocklawaha River is divided into three sections….The Upper Ocklawaha, considered the stretch from Lake Griffin, north to the Silver River, The Middle Ocklawaha, stretching from The Silver River north to the Eureka Dam, and the Lower Ocklawaha River, the 28-mile stretch from the Eureka Dam, north and east to the St Johns River. For convenience, My trips listed below, are smaller sections under these main sections…James


Ocklawaha River Pontoon Notes

 

Ray Wayside ( Silver River ) to Gores Landing – 10.5 miles

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Gores Landing to Eureka West – 9.25 miles

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Eureka West to Paynes Landing – 7.7 miles

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Eureka West to Kenwood Recreation Boat Ramp – 15.5 miles

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Rodman Dam Boat Ramp to St. John’s River – 11.5 miles

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***The above distances are close approximations, based on our recorded logs and GPS

 

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An Ocklawaha River Photo Gallery


Guides, Maps & Info…


Crystal River | Homosassa River | Intercoastal Waterway | Lake Kerr | Lake Lochloosa | Pellicer Creek | Salt Springs | Santa Fe Lake | Silver Glen Springs | The Cedar Keys | The Ocklawaha River | The St Johns River | The Santa Fe River | The Silver River | The Suwannee River | The Rainbow River | Withlacoochee River


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