Created By: Aardvark's Florida Kayak and SUP
Kings Bay is a first magnitude Florida Springs Complex with over 70 springs pumping out 600 million gallons of freshwater per day from the Florida aquifer. Major springs include King Spring, Tarpon Spring, Three Sisters Springs, Idiots Delight, Hunter Spring, Jurassic Spring & House Spring.
The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge consists of 20 islands in and around Kings Bay. The 80-acre refuge (only accessible by boat) was established in 1983, to protect the West Indian Manatee. In 2012, Kings Bay was designated a Manatee Protection Area called the Kings Bay Manatee Refuge. The Refuge is maintained by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
The main attraction in this area is the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris).This system is the largest natural winter refuge for manatees on the Florida Gulf Coast and includes seven Manatee Sanctuaries. With over 300,000 visitors per year, it is important that you understand and obey all rules and follow all recommendations.
The most important recomemendation from both the USFWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and the FWCC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Comnservation Commission) is to PRACTICE PASSIVE OBSERVATION (look from a distance, but don't touch).
You may hear that this is the only area where it is legal to swim with manatees. Not true. You can swim with manatees anywhere however what is considered harassment is more loosely defined in Citrus County. Behavior that might earn you a citation for harassment any place else is often overlooked here. By default that is often interpreted to mean it is legal.
Here is a rule of thumb: If you violate a prohibition, it is illegal and you are subject to penalties. If you violate a recommendation it is simply unethical.
We believe an ethical and informed visitor is essential to protecting manatees in the long run. Please practice good enviromental ethics. We hope to do so with this app. See more at the National Geograpic Blog
This app is designed to be used primarily on the water and focuses on areas where manatees and humans overlap. Click this link for more information on the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge
Start your tour at POI #1 by visiting the Citrus County Visitor Center and from there we suggest visiting the Three Sisters Spring Center before hitting the water.