Three Sisters Springs
The amazing Three Sisters springs brings such joy to so many tourists that visit it. Located on the Crystal River, in Citrus County, they are in a natural inlet on the East side of Kings Bay. The 3 springs contain sand boils and vents. The land that surrounds the springs is property owned, and they don’t allow people to walk on the rocks or land and or tie-up kayaks or canoes on them due to erosion. It can also be accessed by land. Three Sisters Spring is a historical site of significance by being the largest spring on the St. Johns River, and Jacques Cousteau filmed his “Forgotten Mermaids” episode there in 1971. It overall focused on the importance of the manatees which then led to the state’s decision to purchase the land. A Tale of two springs is exactly related to the Three Sisters Spring with the same owner. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service has great information and sources to the park. The Three Sister’s springs was actually documented in a 1944 aerial photography prior to its development. Naturally before, it was a forested wasteland and it was supposed to be developed with condos, houses, and the water was to be commercially extracted and bottled. To continue, it was purchased at 10.5 million dollars which technically was 2 million dollars less than the fair market value. It was owned by private individuals until about July, 2010. On the website www.Threesistersspringvisitor.org there is a vast amount of information needed that will grab your attention, and will have you wanting to visit right away. Pictures will be included, as well as a personal picture that I took during the summer when I visited. The park is open year round from 8:30 am till 4:30 pm daily. Walk-ins are 7 days a week and taking the trolley tour to the boardwalk is an unforgettable moment. Manatee season falls through November 15th through March 31st. My experience when I visited the Three Sisters Spring was phenomenal. It took about 10 minutes kayaking to reach the actual springs. It is very fun during the ride there because there are normally plenty of people on little boats, paddle boards, kayaking, canoeing, diving, etc. It’s pretty neat how I got to access the actual spring that can only be entered through swimming, diving, canoeing, or kayaking. Another huge thing about getting to experience such fun activities is getting to interact or see wild manatees roam all around you. They normally roam all year long, but they tend to stay in the springs in high numbers from about mid-November till about late March. In January 2016, there was around 400-500 manatees around in the spring. During the summer, the manatees tend to leave the springs to look for food in warmer waters of Kings Bay, which is the headwater of Crystal River. The spring is about 6 miles long and flows into the Gulf of Mexico. It is very critical that boaters remain at the exact speed limit it requires when on the river. Due to how deep or shallow the water is in certain areas, it can cause the motor to slice or deeply injure the manatees at swim. It can be very deadly and risks of less manatees in the river decrease. There is also a way to be able to swim with the manatees in the river by contacting many tour operations in the town near you. In 1839, Florida law was the first law designed to protect the manatee. The workers and supervisors of the Three Sisters spring are very serious about the rules and regulations needed to be obeyed at the park. Also, in 1988, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received funding to purchase a site on Kings Bay to headquarters the Crystal River National Wildlife refuge offices and visitors center. On March 11th, 1967, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services classified the manatee as endangered or in threat to extinction. The Three Sisters springs the hardest spring in the county to survey for manatees during high tides. A little bit more about the spring is that it contains 3 main spring areas, but only about 20 spring vents make up the entire spring group. In March of 1995 the flow rate of water from the vents, range between 15-20 million gallons of water a day. It amazes me each and every time that I get to think about how lucky I was to experience this wonderful family friendly park. It sure is worth every drop of your time and it will leave you with such unforgettable memories.