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Living Waters: Aquatic Preserves of Florida Quick Topics

Rainbow Springs Aquatic Preserve Segment - Transcript

Our next stop is Rainbow Springs � one of the four freshwater aquatic preserves in Florida. Located in the southwest corner of Marion County, northeast of the city of Dunnellon, the aquatic preserve begins with the 250-feet semi-circular spring pool with four main springs. The springs feed the winding Rainbow River, which is two to eight feet deep and an average of 150 feet wide. Limestone surfaces along the first mile of the river form an almost solid rock floor in some places. The river flows over the gently rolling countryside to meet the natural tea colored waters of the Withlacoochee before spilling into the Gulf of Mexico.

Rainbow Springs has a very active citizen-based organization. Mr. John Jack Dennis shares a few comments about their success to protect Rainbow Springs River.

Rainbow Springs photo by Clyde Butcher

Rainbow Springs #3
Photo: Clyde Butcher

John Jack Dennis:
One of the biggest things we did was, the river was named an Outstanding Florida Waterway, right at the same time it was named an aquatic preserve. Which is really, really big because very few rivers in the state of Florida are an aquatic preserve. So we got that in and that gave us some more clout with the county. Right after that, we got our no wake idle speed put on the Rainbow River and that was one of our great, great breakthroughs.

This last ten or twelve years, we have kept our river at where we think it�s in great, great shape. We continuously keep a�looking at it; see what has to be done. We have throughout the river, all the way up from the top down to the K.P. Hole area and down to the Rio Vista area. We have a lot of people involved; we get a lot of feedback. And any time, anything is a problem, they get to us. The Rainbow River Conservation acts on it quickly with their board. We are trying to make it a caring river. Now that we can hold this river like this, it will be here for my grandchildren; it will be here for other grandchildren.

The crystal clear spring water, colorful aquatic vegetation and an abundance of fish and wildlife make Rainbow Springs a popular spot for swimming, diving, fishing and boating. Local retired school teacher, Mr. Tom Gaitanis talks about the special opportunities the river provides for the community.

Tom Gaitanis:
I have been interested in the Rainbow Springs and the aquatic preserve as a recreational asset for the children of the community. Being a school teacher, I have been interested for decades about the recreational opportunities that existed here. And we have no movie theater here in Dunnellon and so for our kids, other than sports, the recreational activities are somewhat limited.

The river kinda renews you as an individual. In the hurry scurry of daily life, in earning a living and the myriad of things you are involved with, to get out on the Rainbow River and peacefully float down on an innertube is an experience of renewal. It kinda takes you back to where you can get out the next week and earn that living, deal with your teenage kids, so forth and so on; it�s a very peacufel experience. As a local resident, if what I want is peace and solitude, I can enter the river on a weekday at 3:00 in the afternoon and for the most part have it pretty much to myself.

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Last updated: September 06, 2016

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