Sunday, September 25, 2011

Whacked! Stephen C. Foster Cultural Center St Park


One of our favorite campgrounds got whacked! Stephen Foster Cultural Center State Park at White Springs, Florida, was almost unrecognizable when we pulled in late on a Wednesday afternoon in the middle of September. Gone was the lush vegetation that separated each campsite, and with it the privacy and seclusion that we so enjoyed here in the past. I doubt the palmettos and myrtles were removed for fire reasons as the ground was covered with a thick layer of cuttings and mulch, branches and dead palm fronds. 

Site 7 at Stephen Foster CC State Park in April, 2011...
If removing fuel from possible wild fires was the reason, all they did was move the fuel from vertical to horizontal. It may take years for the bushes and trees to grow back, if it is allowed to grow at all.  I certainly hope so, and I'm sure in time it will look like the campground we remember.

The campground is still a great campground, just a little shock for us from what it had been.  Now, it is like most of the other nondescript campgrounds that offer little privacy between sites. To us, it now looks less like a state park, and more like a commercial campground.

...and Site 8 on September 22, 2011
As we backed our twenty one foot travel trailer into site 8, we were distracted by a fairly loud male voice booming from a class “A” camper parked next to us in site 7, the site we had used twice before in the past. We stopped and listened as a group of six or seven men and women sitting in lawn chairs arranged around the side of the camper, paid rapt attention to a recorded sermon about the Bible blaring from the camper's outside speakers. 

They seemed oblivious to us as we hooked up our electric and water connections. My wife and I decided to retire to our trailer and turn on the air-conditioner even though the outside temperature was really quite pleasant. Even with the windows closed and the air on, it was still possible to listen to a deep baritone voice tell everyone within earshot what he thought the animals thought about as they boarded Noah's Ark. Really, Grown men and women listening to a lecture about what animals thought as they boarded the ark! I listened for a few minutes, resisting the urge to comment on the somewhat entertaining discourse. I wondered if the speaker had recently read George Orwell's Animal Farm. Oh well, perhaps the carnivores were having a telepathic, philosophical debate about what, and when, to eat. 

Maybe the cows were trying to ban the crocodiles; they can swim so they don't need to be on the boat, right? I wonder who remembered to bring the fire ants?  If the volume had been that loud for rock music, I have no doubt there would have been complaints, particularly from them.

The impromptu revival meeting - I hope it wasn't scheduled - broke up soon afterward and middle-aged couples wandered back to campers and RVs around the campground.  Silence once again prevailed over the awkwardly naked campground.  We don't know if they were traveling together or if they met at the at the park for an event of some sort.  

We had a an uneventful night, forgoing our usual traditions of shrimp cocktail and spaghetti dinner, as we didn't really feel this one night stop-over qualified as our first night of camping.  

We weren't rushed, and leisurely unhooked everything the next morning. We were wished a nice trip by our pleasant, smiling evangelical neighbors who were having a big group breakfast as we pulled out. We were on the road by 9:00am and looked back at what had been one of our favorite campgrounds with a twinge of remorse. One last look back confirmed it did not look as we remembered it from past visits. We wonder how long it will take to grow back. Maybe it'll help deaden the sounds between camp sites.

Next: A change, this time we head south to the Collier - Seminole State Park, at:
http://sleepstwo.blogspot.com/2011/11/collier-seminole-state-park.html








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