About: Florida Springs
So what are springs? Let's lay down the basics: a spring is any natural occurrence where water flows on to the surface of the earth from below the surface, and is thus where the aquifer surface meets the ground surface. (Wikipedia, "Spring")
Springs are actually the visible feature of an extensive underground aquifer system. Beneath the surface, groundwater continuously travels from areas of recharge, or replenishement. As groundwater accumulates beneath the surface, the water-table rises and the subsurface water-pressure, or the hydrostatic head, increases. Groundwater pushes along the hydraulic gradient toward areas of discharge. Under pressure, groundwater is pushed to the surface through natural openings in the limestone bedrock, creating springs of flowing water. (UF, "Florida Springs")
Geologists estimate that there are more than 700 springs in Florida, representing the largest concentration of freshwater springs on Earth.
So what? What can you do with a spring? Swim of course! With swimming comes diving, snorkeling, scuba, canoeing, fishing, hiking, camping... you get the idea. Hundreds of parks in Florida are built around the spring waters:
A stream carrying the outflow of a spring to a nearby primary stream is called a spring branch or run. Groundwater tends to maintain a relatively long-term average temperature of its aquifer; so flow from a spring may be cooler than a summer day, but remain unfrozen in the winter. The cool water of a spring and its branch may harbor species such as certain trout that are otherwise ill-suited to a warmer local climate. (Wikipedia, "Spring")
In Florida, springs are typically 72 to 76-degrees all year. As mentioned, they may seem colder in the Summer and warmer in the Winter, but that's only because the air temperature is fluctuating. Often people complain about how cold the spring water is, but this is usually due to the fact that they've only visited a spring during the Summer!
About: Springs Hopper
Springs Hopper is designed to be a site that primarily catalogs information on all the accessible natural springs in Florida in one convenient, clean layout. For each spring (categorized by county), you will find information on the spring itself, its surrounding land, nearby springs, photos and videos of the spring, a map, directions to the spring, the GPS coordinates to the spring, a list of amenities and features, links to other web sites pertaining to the spring, and park information (admission fees, hours, and contact information). This information existed before Springs Hopper came along, but never in one place, and never in such a coherent and useful atmosphere.
In addition to this data, it acts as a blog to follow my travels to these springs as I explore them, photograph them, and experience them. As I drag my friends along, I'll convince them to make accounts and share their experiences, both as amateur travelers and expert divers. I'll talk about new camera equipment, tricks of the trade, important news about the springs, and I may even adopt a manatee!
All in all, the site is just a fun tool that I hope you will all find just as useful :)
About: Me (Jordan/fbrogers)
I've been attending springs since I was small, and my parents before that. Mostly opportunities came when my family camped at the springs in the Ocala National Forest (Salt Springs, Juniper Springs, Alexander Springs), and ever since I discovered the joys the springs can bring, I've tried to find ways to share my enjoyment with others. Slowly but surely I am attempting to visit all the springs and taking all the friends/family that I can.
My love of photography and my attempt to find a weekend destination away from the typical overflowing theme parks of Orlando is what brought me back to my love after college, and I decided that a site would best serve both those interests.
I shoot with whatever works. Currently I own and shoot with a Nikon D50 SLR and a Canon Powershot D10 Underwater. For most of my shots with the D50 I've used a Circular Polarizer fliter (just about the only effect you can add to a snapshot that cannot be accomplished in Photoshop). I rarely post-produce my shots except for the occasional exposure adjustment. My photography portfolio can be viewed at Flickr.