Oklawaha River and Rodman Dam (1998)


I attend a weekend party out at the Oklawaha River. A bunch of my friends have organized this big event to support our political effort to have the state remove the Rodman Dam, which forms the Rodman Reservoir and blocks the river. Opponents of the removal are the many fisherman who love fishing in the reservoir. Fortunately, they do not shoot at us at our party.

The river is over 60 miles long, and flows in a northerly direction to its destination at the St. Johns River. Trees along the way include bald cypress, sweet bay, red maple, gum, and tupelo. We enjoy a wonderful 3-hour canoe ride just below the dam on the first day (see photo to right). It requires all my skills as a canoeist, since there were many trees and logs that have fallen into the river. But the river is beautiful and we have a good time. Along the way, we spot a bald eagle perched in a tree, which exemplifies the abundant wildlife in the river valley. I take a few photos of him/her. That night, we enjoy a big cook-out picnic around a bonfire, listen to a bunch of songs from a well-known local folk singer and talk politics. The next morning, we are out on a pontoon boat, after camping in a tent for the night. We tour the reservoir and look at the dam (see photo below). Lots of ugly tree stumps in the reservoir. It's about damn time to take down the dam! Free the Oklawaha! is the battle cry.


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