Orange Springs Boat Ramp
The Orange Springs Boat Ramp provides a generally unusable ramp, kayak launch and picnic pavilion for access to the Ocklawaha River.
14525 NE 245th St. Rd., Orange Springs, 32133
Hours: 8 am to Sunset
Schedule: 365 days a week
Amenities: Picnic tables, grills, no running water, no restrooms, kayak soft launch area, the original boat ramp is often unusable due to invasive aquatic plants.
- The springs are located north of Orange Springs, south of CR310.
- Trees in the area were harvested for boat building
- On Jan. 23, 1966, two days before a Jan. 25 Tallahassee public hearing on the fate of the Cross Florida Barge Canal, conservation organizations converged at Orange Springs for an emotional Sunday gathering led by Rev. Ulysses S. Gordon, longtime pastor of Gainesville’s First Presbyterian Church. He spoke about the connection between God and nature and blessed the efforts of the group headed to Tallahassee (Ditch of Dreams, p. 172-173).
- Bottled water plant located here – a subject of on-going focus from water conservation advocates.
- A paddleboat stop along Colonel Hubbard Hart’s steamboat route
- First health resort in this region and popular tourist spot until after the Civil War
- Became a center for cotton and citrus production
- When the Union captured Palatka in 1862, Hubbard L. Hart moved his steamboat operation to Orange Springs. It became the headquarters for contraband captured off the union vessels.
- During the Civil War, the cotton mill was used by the confederate army to build arms and cannons.
- In the 1850s, John Pearson, a wealthy plantation owner and mayor of Orange Springs predicted the Civil War was coming and bought arms and ammunition for 125 men who became the Ocklawaha Rangers.
- North of Orange Springs was Fort Brooke where Indians were held before sending them to Cedar Key or Tampa to ship out as part of the Indian Removal Act (known as the “Trail of Tears”).
- Home of one of the historic ferries until the 1960s when the river was cleared for the halted Cross Florida Barge Canal. They carried one horse and one buggy.
Nearby Sites: Community of Orange Springs, Horseshoe Lake
Food and Provisions: Convenience stores in Orange Springs and restaurants in Ft. McCoy.
River sites from Orange Springs to Kenwood Ramp: Fort Brooke (not accessible)