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Blue Springs State Park
Conservation measures can produce astounding results. In 1970, two years before Blue Spring State Park was established, researchers tracked 14 manatees in the spring run. By 2005, after years of park improvements and manatee protection efforts, wintering manatee numbers exceeded 200. By 2018, that number skyrocketed to a record 485.
Besides sea cows, fish abound in the spring run, and these attract a variety of wading birds, ospreys, eagles and kingfishers. To see the park’s wonders, one can hike along the spring run or on the 4.5-mile Pine Island Trail. One can also launch a canoe or kayak, rent one at the park or take a guided river boat cruise.