Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cross Florida Barge Canal Photos

Yes, I forgot to bring my camera to take pics of the unfinished Cross Florida Barge Canal on Tuesday, so Wednesday we decided to retrace our steps with a camera. 

The canal was over 25% completed when construction was halted in 1969, forty-three years ago.   It  was to be cut through a low, flat part of Florida, and part of what was completed were bridges and locks.  Seeing a high arched bridge like the one below really stands out.  It's the highest thing around for miles.

It reminded me of the Olympic ski jump in Lake Placid.

Or a roller coaster.

Here's the same bridge from below. 

Most of my boater friends will recognize the wooden bulkheads under the bridge.  It's the section of the bridge that boats are to pass through.  The bulkheads serve two functions.   First, and most importantly, they protect the bridge abutments from collisions with errant boats.   Second, it helps protect from wave erosion.

The next three pics are three sets of pilings that barges could tie to.  The first is easy to see.  It's the vertical set of logs banded together at the top.

The second a bit more difficult because it's on the edge of the forest, but you can see it smack dab in the middle of the pic.

The pilings below are difficult to see, being surrounded by 43 years of tree growth.  Look right in the middle of the photo.  In another month, when the leaves are fully out on the trees, this piling will be completely hidden.

Although I am an environmentalist, at least in spirit, I am also a businessman and a boater.  A canal across Florida would have been very cool, saving time, fuel, and money.  Flooding this whole area to benefit a small segment of the commercial freight hauling industry may have been a good idea at the time, but in hindsight, commercial boat traffic just isn't what it used to be.  Look at what would have been lost.

 Dime bugs!    Hundreds of them!

If you catch these and put them in a Dixie Cup overnight, the next morning you'll find that they've turned into dimes.  That worked great when I was a kid, but no matter how many times I've tried it as an adult, it just doesn't work anymore.  I don't know why.

Lizards.  Many, many lizards, trying to attract mates.  Hey baby, how you doin'?

Although this river isn't a boon to barge traffic and cruisers, it certainly is to fishermen and fisherwomen and nature lovers.

This is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.   I think many others have felt the same way.

There are several wooden headstones that we found along the river yesterday.  Better than a cemetary.


  1. Dave fantastic shots of the bridge. I live in Sarasota and want to visit here and get photos and video of the bridge and remnants of the Florida Barge Canal area. The road the bridge is on etc. Any info you can supply me would be very much appreciated. Take care.

  2. Hi Charles,

    We visited three boat ramps on the Ocklawaha. The bridge and pilings are in Fort McCoy, just east of town.

  3. Hello, for anyone interested, here's a gallery of photos I took of both ends of the canal: