Give me a wave!

Hi everyone, my name is Walker Willis, and I am the newest volunteer for Save Crystal River. My blog posts, “Walker on the Water” show the importance of Save Crystal River and the beauty of Crystal River. Save Crystal River dedicates itself to restoring Kings Bay through a three step plan: remove, plant, protect. With cooperative and robust restoration efforts, and increased awareness, Crystal River can regain its crystal clarity once again.

My family has a small fishing cabin, called “The Shack,” on Kings Bay where over the years I spent many days on the water. Spending my free time on the water developed my love of ecosystems and marine life. Tampa Bay and Crystal River showed me different types of beauty in Florida waterways. Over time, I gained an appreciation for the natural world and the experiences it provided me.

My father spent many weekends up at The Shack when he was growing up, and when we spend time at Crystal River, he poignantly reflects on how clear the river used to be. Back then, my dad saw trout and bass swimming beneath him. A local resident even said he used to pump his drinking water directly from the river because it was so fresh! Nowadays, no one would ever dream of doing that without a filter.

As a kid, I found it hard to imagine what my dad meant. Three Sisters Springs was clear, but that seemed like an aberration. I knew Crystal River as muddy and turbid. However, when my dad took me to Rainbow River (or Blue Run, its local nickname), I saw what he was talking about. I could see straight down to the white, sandy riverbed and the flowing eelgrass. There were speckled brim and river trout swimming right underneath me! If Crystal River looked like Rainbow River only 50 years ago, what happened that destroyed the river’s health and beauty?       

Why am I here?

A few Christmases ago, my grandmother bought me a book titled 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz. Visiting Crystal River was on the list, but without efforts towards improvement it might fall off that list. So, let’s put on our bathing suits and pitch in. Improvement starts with awareness, progresses with financial and community support, and succeeds through continual participation. With your help, we can make a change for the better in the river and see it restored to its original beauty.

“Walker on the Water” hopes to take you on a journey through my personal experiences on the water, how Save Crystal River is restoring Crystal River, and how you can help.

I’ll see you on the water,

Walker Willis