Steamboats dock at district-owned property

MAITLAND, Fla., April 7, 2016 — Visitors to Haynes Creek in Leesburg were treated to an unusual site recently as nearly a dozen steamboats passed through the Burrell Lock and Dam. Situated on the St. Johns River Water Management District’s property, the Burrell Lock and Dam were constructed in 1957 to assist in flood control as well as the passage of fishing boats and pleasure crafts between Lake Eustis and Lake Griffin.

“Nearly all district-owned property is open to the public for recreation that’s compatible with conservation,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “This visit presents a unique opportunity to meet with communities who are eager to learn about how managing lake levels affects activities like boating and fishing, as well as other ecological functions.”

Comprised of steamboat enthusiasts from around the country, the boats traveled from as far away as North Carolina and Maine to navigate Florida’s waters. During their stop along Haynes Creek, the local community gathered on nearby district-owned property to greet the boats with a picnic and tour the unique watercrafts which haven’t visited the area since 2009.

The district operates three locks and dams in its 18-county service area to help manage lake levels. During busy seasons, more than 1,200 boats will pass through the Burrell Lock and Dam each month.