Area State Park Floods From High Chipola River Level - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Area State Park Floods From High Chipola River Level

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The Chipola River in Marianna is sitting below the minor flood stage, but it's high enough to start flowing water into a popular Jackson county tourist attraction.

Florida Caverns State Park is sporting a different look at the moment.

There's quite a bit of water inside the caves and in some parts too much.

A passageway in the caverns is filled with knee deep water so tour guides have to make their guests take an alternate route.

"So we enter the side entrance explore all the rooms we're able to and then come out that side entrance as well," said Park Ranger Robert Goodrich.

This leads guests on only a partial tour of the caverns, but it's an experience Goodrich says the general public doesn't usually get.

"That's walking through the passage ways in the opposite directions," said Goodrich. "I know that doesn't sound like much but walking through the cavern in the opposite direction makes it seem like a whole new cave. You can get disoriented turned around, not remember that you've been here before.

Meanwhile their campground is closed.

This road leading that way is just too waterlogged. The boat ramp and canoe launch underwater.

"To get to the canoe launch now, you need a canoe," said Goodrich.

This isn't the first time the Caverns has flooded and it won't be the last.

"You can see here the difference in the limestone, that's an indicator of where the water level was back in February," said Goodrich.

Despite a detoured route of exploration, they remain busy.

"We do have still plenty of people coming in for the tours, all the tours today, completely filled up," said Goodrich.

With more water, comes mosquitoes. Goodrich says be sure to bring plenty of bug spray.  

The campground could possibly reopen Wednesday. The Chipola River is expected to start receding on Saturday.