Run on the Wild Side at Wakulla Springs

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May marks the month when excursions into Wakulla’s wild areas change from trips by foot to trips by boat. Before the weather heats up there’s one last chance to experience the off-the-beaten path (are there any in Wakulla?) wonders of Wakulla Springs State Park on Saturday, May 19.

The first Run for Wakulla Springs 5k run, organized with the Gulf Winds Track Club and benefiting Friends of Wakulla Springs State Park begins with registration at 8 a.m. at the park.

A 1 mile fun run (or walk) also is planned that begins at 9 a.m. Race time is 9:30 a.m. The first 150 paid registrants receive a t-shirt, thanks to Wakulla Bank’s sponsorship.

The event takes runners into the sanctuary, a wilderness area normally off-limits to visitors.

Few realize that Wakulla Springs State Park protects 6,000 acres of wilderness. Volunteers plan events such as the recent wildlife festival to showcase some of these remote areas. Members of the Friends of Wakulla Springs State Park also organize one or two excursions annually.

Run for Wakulla is the first time a 5k course has been laid out to offer runners the shade and quietness of the wilderness, with windows onto the Wakulla River.

Registration forms are available at wakullasprings.org, at the park, and through the Gulf Winds Track Club. Entry fees are $5 for the one mile fun run; $12 pre-registration by May 18 (call 224-5950); $25 for family registration; $7 no t-shirt option; and $15 day of race registration.

There are framed nature photographs, binoculars, water and oil paintings prizes to the first, second, and third-place winner in numerous age categories.

Wakulla Springs is located 14 miles (22 km) south of Tallahassee, Florida and 5 miles (8 km) east of Crawfordville in Wakulla County, Florida at the crossroads of State Road 61 and State Road 267. It is protected in the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park.