What once was lost may now be found........maybe
by Todd Garland
They're out there just waiting to be discovered. If you look hard enough, the impossible can become reality. Flowing freshwater springs still exist in south Florida, although extremely rare. Today underwaterflorida.com journey's to Chapman Field Park in search of the lost freshwater springs. Now a baseball field, Chapman Field Park was once a military training base for WWI and WWII pilots. Several canals were dredged, even a water landing strip to accommodate this military base.
It is believed some of these canals may have "scraped" the Floridan aquifer or a spring may exist hidden within the mangroves.
Searching for Florida springs, we began at the first canoe launching area just off of the road leading east of Chapman Field (right). Within 150 feet of this site we encountered a small canal heading south. At the entrance of the canal we see the tell tale signs of fresh spring water from the aquifer. Fresh and salt water mix together to form a "vegetable oil" looking substance.
We jumped in to investigate the spring water and could not find a direct source other than the small canal itself (right). Covered in dense mangroves, navigation through this small canal was nearly impossible. Still, we wanted to see the source of this spring water. Could there be a beautiful spring at the end of the canal? About 100 feet into the canal our canoe was too big to continue. We started walking by foot to continue our journey. Another 100 feet in, the mangroves proved to be to dense for any further exploration. It is possible to continue further but you would have to squeeze through mangroves to pull your body through. It was reminiscent of northern Florida's cave system without the danger (except for the active crocodiles in the area). Maybe another day we will see what's at the end of the small canal.
Is there a lost spring from the past in the Chapman Field area? That question remains to be answered. It is possible that small seeps at the bottom of the muddy sea floor are venting from the Biscayne aquifer. Whatever the case may be, Chapman Field Park offers excellent canoeing and kayaking for the outdoor enthusiast. Two canals exit into Biscayne Bay, including one that zigzags with small rapids.
This is a beautiful aquatic preserve and marsh area that allows you to step out of the close suburban Miami area.
The "vegetable oil" look of salt and fresh water mixing