Madison Blue Springs
Blue Spring is about 10 miles east of Madison on the west bank of the Withlacoochee River (on the border of Madison and Hamilton Counties). From Live Oaks, go west on Rt. 90, crossing over the Suwannee River and turn right on Old Blue Spring Highway in the little town of Lee. Follow that to Rt 6, then right, then right at park on the west side of the Withlacoochee River bridge.
Here are a couple of road maps to assist in finding the site; map1, map2, map3.
This first magnitude spring has a head pool about 25 feet across with most of the water discharged through a horizontal cavity that is about 20 by 35 feet and about 25 feet beneath water surface. The spring discharges to the Withlacoochee River through a 100 foot long run. Madison Blue was operated as a commercial campground and dive facility by the Bruic family. My maps for this system aren't great, so if anyone has something better, please let me know. The May 1999 issue of Southern Diver (insert from Skin Diver magazine) has a nice little section of the best cavern dives in Florida and had Madison at the top of the list. Madison Blue Springs has been sold to the state. Access was closed for a long, long time, however the system is open again. GUE has a short listing of Madison Blue Springs here that will be updated when the site is open again for cavers. It is extremely important that cavers represent the community and take a solid interest in keeping this site open. I suspect that how the site is handled in the near future will determine the fate of other caves, possibly including Eagle's Nest. Please police yourself or else we will see the site and others closed again, and this time probably for good. If you see trash, pick it up, if a park guest asks some questions, be polite. Many of the people that visit the site are locals and have the ears of officials. You're the one diving in their swimming hole. Kudos and good karma to those that have worked to open this system again. This is a nice system and has never been fully explored, so there is exploration potential. There was a dual fatality here several years ago due to a silt-out and broken line. Since this cave has not had much traffic in a while, please pay particular attention to the condition of the line and check it; especially when going through tight passages such as the Rocky Horror tunnel.
Update (6/04): Madison is now open again at a cost of $20 ($5 entrrance + $15 diving) per day. State passes are not honored here. Though unconfirmed, you should get a 33% discount of the $5 entrance fee (no discount on diving fee). An extreme effort made by John Jones, Mike Poucher, Ken Hill, Jerry Murphy and Lamar Hires has allowed cave diving to take place again here. From what I understand, American Canoe Adventure is graciously allowing access by certified cave divers. As a result, the rules should be STRICTLY (READ: NO SOLO DIVING) followed. If you don't like it....don't dive it. After all the work Scott Hunsucker and others put into opening Jackson Blue, the whole site was almost shut down after people were sneaking in extra, unsigned, divers, using various areas as toilets, and other stupid acts. It just take a few people to screw over all of us. If anyone has some recent pictures (that are public domain) send them to me and I'll post them. I'd especially love to throw up any other maps.
Click here for Madison top map (PDF)
Click here for Madison bottom map (PDF)
Click here for a better overall map of the system (PDF)
Diving Policy for Madison Blue Springs (large jpg)
Madison Blue Springs State Park
8300 N.E. State Road 6
Lee, FL 32059
Park Manager: Kevin Jones
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Last Updated: 09/30/2008
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