Local state park receives special designation

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CHIPLEY, Fla. (WMBB)–One of the jobs of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to recognize state parks that play a huge role in Florida’s past and future. This morning, a park in our own backyard received a special designation, celebrating all it contributes to the state.

Falling Waters State Park is home to the largest waterfall in the state of Florida and it was created out of limestone that was formed over twenty million years ago.

The 171-acre park sits three miles south of Chipley. On Thursday, the park was officially designated a “Geologic Site”, all thanks to its unique features.

“We’re on a hill in the Florida Panhandle and in the middle of that hill is a waterfall that flows through a sinkhole 70 feet down into the Aquaphor into a cave system and it recharges our groundwater,” said Dr. Jon Arthur, State Geologist of Florida.

Dr. Arthur carried out a ceremony recognizing the park and took residents on a guided tour to learn about the park’s rich history.

Only 5 state parks have been given the “Geologic Site” status.

Falling Waters doesn’t just serve the Panhandle. Its purpose goes much further.

“The waterfall itself goes back into the sinkhole and the sinkhole returns the water back to the Aquaphor which is 90% of the state of Florida’s drinking water,” said Aaron Miller, Park Manager.

The waterfall isn’t the only attraction. The park has a little something for everyone.

“We also have a few trails, we got a lake where you can go swimming, nature trails, and we have a 24 site campground where we have water and sewer hookups,” Miller said.

While the park did have damage from Hurricane Michael, Miller says the grounds were repaired just one month after the storm.

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