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“Ditch of Dreams” still controversial a century later


The health of Silver Springs and Silver River has been at the heart of recent debate over water permit requests in Marion County.  The Silver River which flows into the Ocklawaha River has also been a part of a century old debate. More than a 100 years ago early Spanish explorers and Florida businessmen had big dreams to put in a cross-the-state barge canal from the Gulf Coast to the St. John’s River to allow for more commerce.  The Nixon administration put a stop to the project because of budget and environmental concerns.  Nevertheless, remnants of the original barge construction remain with the Inglis Lock and dam on the west coast and the Kirkpatrick Dam and Rodman Reservoir in Putnam and Marion Counties.  Florida’s 89.1, WUFT-FM’s Donna Green-Townsend talked to one of the two local historians who has captured the controversial history of the project in the book called:  “Ditch of Dreams: The Cross Florida Barge Canal and  the struggle for Florida’s future.”

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(This program originally aired on WUFT-FM in late fall of 2010) 

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