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Feb 25th, 2009 | 0

Staff Reports

Morrison Springs Park is scheduled to re-open Thursday, Feb. 26, at 11 a.m., following a year of renovations. Walton County Commissioner Scott Brannon will lead a ribbon-cutting ceremony with other local and state leaders who worked to secure the necessary funding for the million-dollar renovation project. The public is invited to attend.
Morrison Springs is one of the most popular diving spots in northwest Florida and well-known throughout the southeast. This 161-acre park was acquired by the state in 2004 and has been leased to the county to maintain and preserve. The highlight of the park is a 250-foot diameter spring pool that produces an estimated 48 million gallons of crystal clear water each day and has been recorded to produce up to 70 million gallons a day. Three cavities allow Morrison’s frigid waters to surface from the underground aquifer. The deepest of these cavities, at approximately 300 feet in depth, eventually terminates in an underground chamber of unknown dimensions.
The new Morrison Springs Park includes large boardwalks overlooking the springs, a diving dock and a new boat ramp away from the diving location. Handicap parking makes accessibility to the boardwalks and beach area easier, and bus parking enables large groups to explore and enjoy the new park amenities. Restrooms with outdoor showers now make visiting the park more convenient and welcoming to residents and visitors.      A new education center is being planned as part of ongoing park improvements. In addition to thousands of dollars in volunteer time by Cliff Knauer, P.E. of Preble-Rish, Inc. and county staff resources, $500,000 in funds to renovate the park is from a Northwest Florida Water Management District grant. The Florida Boating Improvement Program funded an additional $300,000 for construction of a new boat ramp, including paved boat ramp parking and access road. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Springs Initiative provided a $39,864 grant for the advanced septic treatment system and chlorinated well system.
“This newly renovated park not only enhances the safety of the divers that come to explore the beautiful underwater caves,” says District 1 Commissioner Scott Brannon, “but it enhances the preservation of one of the most beautiful sites in all of northwest Florida. We hope everyone will come and see the new park on February 26 and will join us for this historic event.”
Directions to the park: From the Walton County Courthouse: head east on U.S. 90 for approximately 11.3 miles. Turn right onto Highway 181-A for 3.3 miles. The highway eventually becomes CR-181. Continue for another 1.6 miles. Turn left onto Morrison Springs Road and follow to its end.
From Freeport:  SR-20 East, north on Highway 81. Right onto CR-181. Right onto Morrison Springs Road and follow to its end.

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