Ocala Caves Outing
Led by four dedicated Florida Speleological Society volunteers, Sierra Club members and guests ventured underground on December 6th to explore caves south of Ocala. In the 1950s and 1960s, this spot was a roadside attraction known as the Ocala Caverns. Later, as happens to so many unprotected natural places, the area became a local party hangout. Trash and graffiti became the defining characteristics. But over the past few years, in collaboration with the current owner, the Florida Speleological Society has spent significant effort to haul out mounds of garbage and gently clean the limestone features. The land is returning to a more natural state, full of trees and ferns. While slight vestiges of the tourist attraction remain, the two caves – one dry, the other wet – offer a wonderful glimpse at Florida’s karst topography and the Floridan aquifer system. Due to the sensitive and fragile environment, tours in these caves are limited to just a few each year. We thank FSS for allowing us to participate in this special outing and hope Sierra Club can do it again next year.