Purchased by the state of Florida in 1992, this relatively young Florida state park is till in the works. In 1994 the state purchased the land adjacent to the north of the park; know known as Werner-Boyce Preserve. A small part of the preserve opened in 2001. This start up kit as they call it consists of a small building, parking area, composting toilet and observation deck. The remaining Gulf of Mexico side of the park is of course open to boaters who traverse these tidal backwater sloughs and flats.
The actual springs are a very small area, yet amazingly, it is 320 feet deep. Swimming in the spring isn’t available from the shore, but only by boat. This spring is home to the West Indian Manatee otherwise known as the gentle sea cow. Boaters here should take caution when driving around the partially submerged manatees. Many a manatee have been injured or killed by careless boaters.
Besides the manatees, Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park is home to a myriad of wildlife. Birds by the ton flock to the springs and surrounding four miles of pristine coastline. Birds of prey, wading birds, shore birds and songbirds all populate this beautiful Florida state park.
While the amenities at this park are limited, future expansion is in progress and can be seen throughout the park. Look for a swimming area soon. A picnic pavilion complete with tables is offered at the entrance as well as an information kiosk. A small hiking trail is located nearby that offers some fantastic views of the glorious Florida sunset.
Getting to this Florida state park is easy. Simply travel to the Port Richey area of US 19 and turn west onto Cinema Drive. At the end of the road is Scenic Drive and the park entrance. There is no fee as of yet, but once the swimming area is opened sometime around the spring of 2011, it will indeed cost a few dollars. To learn more about Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, visit the website.