08/15/2019 Our Voice

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River limits not the best solution

The council made its point known to the county: it isn’t happy with the congestion at Blue Run Park, whether it’s the water-related users, the traffic or shuttle services and it wants a limit placed on tubers.

That’s the message we received and it’s not very neighborly of city officials who bemoaned the current amount of people and vehicles entering and exiting Blue Run Park.

We certainly agree, the overcrowding and traffic issues at Blue Run Park need to be resolved.

Are there viable ways to reduce the loads without implementing a limit? We believe so.

We have not one, but two amazing rivers. We’ve done little to promote the Withlacoochee River, outside of the amazing fishing opportunities. While one is certainly not going to tube the Withlacoochee, it provides the same chance to enjoy nature and ample opportunities, if not more, to see the wildlife this area has to offer.

Implementing a limit on a “public” waterway is too much to ask for, especially given the amount of private entry points along the Rainbow River itself. Are those people and entities with private access points willing to abide by a “limit?”

We need to understand, it’s a public waterway; it belongs to everyone and everyone has the same rights to use it as local residents. Should our visitors and residents abide by the same set of rules and standards? Absolutely.

Tubers are not the crux of the environmental issues on the Rainbow River; the scientific data has shown it is septic tanks and the over fertilizing of agricultural property, and to an extent, residential yards.

Blue Run Park isn’t the lone area of concern in the city when it comes to congestion, be it people or traffic. If the city is going to attempt to resolve the issue along East Pennsylvania Avenue, then it needs to address control at the boat ramp at City Hall. That area is brimming with large amounts of trucks, trailers, motorized boats and foot traffic.

It’s vital we understand that the water is more important in the Rainbow River than it is in a bottle, and if you think that’s a far-fetched notion, then talk to the folks who live Gilchrist County.

The Suwannee River Water Management District will decide whether to approve a renewal permit for Nestlé, which has filed a request to withdraw a maximum of 1.152 million gallons of water a day from Ginnie Springs for bottling.

The kicker: Nestlé would pay nothing for the water.

The same folks who come from all over the world, enjoying all the Rainbow River has to offer, would be the first ones to offer their support in a fight against a water bottling company.

Bottling water, not the tubers, would destroy the Rainbow River and the town.