Juniper Springs, Ocala National Forest, Florida, USA
© Michael Warren/Getty Image
Juniper Springs, Florida
Long before Disney arrived in Florida, natural springs like this one were what visitors came to see. Juniper Springs is one of Florida’s oldest and best-known recreation areas, established in the 1930s as a place to camp, hike, paddle and swim.
Florida is home to the largest concentration of freshwater springs in the world, with more than 1,000 of them scattered mostly across the upper part of the state, where the massive Floridan aquifer breaks through the surface. This underground reservoir hides beneath the entire state and parts of neighbouring states. Under constant pressure, the water sometimes reaches voids in the surface, and a spring is created. This aquifer provides Florida with almost all its drinking water.
Like so many of our natural resources, Florida’s springs are under threat. Overextraction and pollution from fertilisers and septic systems have put some springs in danger. Luckily for anyone visiting Juniper Springs, these waters are protected by the Ocala National Forest, so it’s likely to look like this for a long time.