- Lake Santa Fe
lake_name = Lake Santa Fe
Alachua County, Florida
coords = coord|29|44|22|N|082|04|33|W|region:US-FL_type:waterbody_source:gnis|display=inline,title
inflow = "springs"
Santa Fe River
basin_countries = United States
area = 5,850 acre (23.7 km²)
Lake Santa Fe is a 5,850-acre (23.7 km²) spring-fed
lakein northeastern Alachua County, Florida. The lake is located entirely in Alachua County, but is bounded on the east side by Bradford County. The Alachua County boundary extends to the ordinary high water line (normally the shoreline), which is 141-feet (43 m) above mean sea level.
It forms the
headwatersof the Santa Fe River, exiting from a "little" northern area ( Little Lake Santa Fe) emptying into the Suwannee River. Lake Santa Fe offers abundant wildlife, excellent fishingand recreational boating. It is one of the largest lakes in Florida. Several waterfront businesses cater to drive-in boat customers.
At "the pass" between the "big" southern arm and Little Lake Santa Fe
shadschool, and fishing is usually good for schooling largemouth bassand stocked sunshine bass. Numerous homes surround the lake, most with docks and ski boats; fishing is always best early and late or at night and on weekdays. In spite of development, the fish habitat is outstanding with many areas of bald cypressand healthy maidencanegrass beds. The lake was stocked with 44,500 hybrid-striped bass in April 2005. The previous stocking of the lake occurred in 1997.
Lake Santa Fe is the third most stable of 120 lakes studied in Florida, as well as one of the clearest. It is designated by the State of
Floridaas an "Outstanding Florida Water". It is supported by water flowing in at the southern extremity of the intermediate aquiferthat outcrops in the lake bottom. Also it is a rather deep example of a karstic lake, with several spots that are 30-feet (9 m) or more.
Lake Santa Fe was the largest of a series of lakes that were connected by
dredging canalsin the 1870s and 1880s so that boats could travel between Melrose, Florida(at the time the center of a thriving citrusand tourist industry) and Waldo, the railroad terminal. The canal was dredged from Little Lake Santa Fe into Lake Alto. This canal is visible today. Water and railroadwere the major means of transportation for passengers and freight across Florida at that time. Prosperity in this area followed the Reconstruction. The first boat that made the journey through the canal system was the "Fannie S. Lewis" in 1880, and the last was the "City of Melrose" in 1925. Improved roads and the automobiledoomed the era of steamshipsin Alachua County and the canals fell into disuse.
The rural unincorporated communities of Melrose and Earleton are located on the lake. North of the lakes is
Santa Fe Swamp, mostly a wildlifeand environmental conservation areamanaged by the Suwannee River Water Management District.
* [http://www.alachuacounty.us/government/depts/pw/parks/parkslist.aspx?park=Sante+Fe+Lake Santa Fe Lake Park]
* [http://lakewatch.ifas.ufl.edu/slakesfolder/SantaFe.htm IFAS Lakewatch Summary]
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