Cross Florida Barge Canal

Built in 1968, the Canal was seen by canal promoters as a tool for great economic growth. In the 1840s, the Army Corps of Engineers conducted surveys to find the ideal path. Out of 28 possible routes, the path selected ran from Jacksonville along the St. Johns River to Palatka, then along the Ocklawaha River to Silver Springs, then westward below Ocala to Dunnellon and finally along the Withlacoochee River to the Gulf of Mexico near Yankeetown (Ditch of Dreams, Noll and Tegeder, 2009).

The project would have totally devastated the St. Johns, Ocklawaha, Silver and Withlacoochee Rivers, not to forget the impact to Silver Springs and the Floridan Aquifer. The eastern portion that was completed before it was halted in its tracks included the installation of the Rodman/Kirkpatrick dam devastating 7,500 acres of forested wetlands, drowning of 20 springs, cutting off fish and wildlife migration from the Atlantic to Silver Springs, and altering of miles of the Ocklawaha. A portion on the western section was also completed in Citrus County.