The authors'-and all who seek out springs--are indebted to and follow in the large footsteps of generations of Florida spring explorers, scientists, researchers, chroniclers, and protectors. From aboriginal Florida inhabitants; to Spanish explorers hungry for gold and glory; through William Bartram and John Muir in the 18th and 19th centuries, respectively; Archie Carr in the 1930-60s; George Ferguson in the 1940s; W.S. Wetterhall in the 1960s; Jack Rosenau in the 1970s; to present-day discoverers such as David Hornsby and Ron Ceryak, these and other intrepid have braved the elements and the state's wildest flora and fauna to systematically find, measure, study, learn from, and teach others about the hundreds of unique oases where pure water wells up from the earth to give life to Florida.
Others, including Archie Carr, Ney Landrum, James McFarland, Pete Mallison, Jim Stevenson, and others advocated for spring conservation, acquisition, research, preservation, and maintaining public access to and enjoyment of springs. Through such efforts, dozens of springs and their surrounding watersheds have been conserved in perpetuity.
Still others work each day to monitor, study, protect, and care for springs that are sources of habitat, water for consumption and agriculture, and recreation. These little-recognized individuals include water management district staff; officials in county, state, and federal parks, refuges, and wildlife management districts; students, researchers, and teachers; Department of Environmental Protection staff; and county and municipal hydrologists. Their work and the federal, state, and local investments that make such efforts possible are crucial to our long-term management of this unique resource. This work--which includes mapping, water testing, flora and fauna counts, historical research, calculations, publishing of findings, public hearings and presentations, and (not infrequently) legal action--is complex, time-consuming, expensive, and often politically charged. The work conducted by these dedicated staff will set the course for spring action and policy for the next several decades.
Tallahassee Free Net has donated space on its server to house/host/post the web site. This significant contribution (Springs Fever is the largest web site on their server) allows for worldwide distribution and sharing of the information in the Guide at no cost to users.
Thanks are extended to Ginger Smith, whose gift of an old computer provided the platform for composing the original drafts of this Guide.