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Near Dunnellon in Marion County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Pruitt Trailhead

Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway

 
 
Pruitt Trailhead Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, February 23, 2021
1. Pruitt Trailhead Marker
Inscription.  
Human Hands Changed the Land
A mile east of here, you will encounter some rugged terrain. It's left over from a ship canal dug during the Great Depression. Some 8,000 men shoveled tons of sand and dirt onto mule-drawn carts and trucks, swatting away mosquitoes in sweltering heat.

Heaps of excavated dirt form a man-made ridge. If you follow the trail to the east, you will see the great gash that the canal left in the earth — miles long and more than 20 feet deep.

Returning to Nature
During canal construction, this area resembled an open mine. Workers cleared the land and burned vegetation. The project was abandoned because of funding issues and the start of World War II. Native plants soon reclaimed the land. The Florida Park Service now manages this area for wildlife and recreation as part of the Cross Florida Greenway.
 
Erected by Florida State Parks.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EnvironmentParks & Recreational AreasWaterways & Vessels.
 
Location. 29° 
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2.716′ N, 82° 22.668′ W. Marker is near Dunnellon, Florida, in Marion County. Marker can be reached from County Highway 484, 5.2 miles east of Williams Street (U.S. 41), on the right when traveling east. Marker is located at the Florida Trail Pruitt Trailhead, on the south side of the parking lot, about 6/10 mile south of County Highway 484. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 15430 Southwest County Highway 484, Dunnellon FL 34432, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Dunnellon Trail (approx. 4.8 miles away); Rest for the Weary (approx. 5 miles away); Ross Prairie (approx. 5 miles away); Veterans Memorial (approx. 5.2 miles away); Rainbow Springs (approx. 5.3 miles away); Site of the Discovery of Phosphate in Florida (approx. 5.9 miles away); Shangri-La Diggings (approx. 8.4 miles away); Church of the Nazarene Hernando/Architectural Description (approx. 10.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dunnellon.
 
More about this marker. Nearby marker, "Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway," is replicated at multiple locations along the greenway.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway
 
Also see . . .
1. Cross Florida Barge Canal (Wikipedia)
Marker detail: Tree Destruction image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Florida Memory
2. Marker detail: Tree Destruction
Like its ship canal predecessor, construction of the 1960s barge canal created waste and destruction. Machinery flattened thousands of cypress and pine trees.
. Originally a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers canal project to connect the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean across Florida for barge traffic. Two sections were built but the project was ultimately cancelled, due to local opposition related to environmental concerns, including protecting the state's water supply and conservation of the Ocklawaha River Valley ecosystem, but also due to national opposition for the costs being perceived as "government waste" with "limited national value." (Submitted on February 28, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway. One of the nation's largest incomplete public works projects has been transformed into the diverse Cross Florida Greenway, spanning Central Florida from the Gulf of Mexico to the St. Johns River. (Submitted on February 28, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Marker detail: Pruitt Trail image. Click for full size.
3. Marker detail: Pruitt Trail
Today, you can see native wildlife along Pruitt Trail. Listen for warblers and other songbirds singing from the trees.
Marker detail: Building Camps image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Ocala Star-Banner
4. Marker detail: Building Camps
Manual laborers like these ones built camps for canal workers with many of the same tools used to build the canal itself.
Marker detail: Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway image. Click for full size.
5. Marker detail: Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway
The Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway sits on land purchased in the 20th century for a shipping canal across the state. The prolonged political struggle over the canal shows how dreams of progress and preservation shaped Florida.
Pruitt Trailhead Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, February 23, 2021
6. Pruitt Trailhead Marker
(looking south from Pruitt Trailhead parking lot • trailhead kiosk visible in left background, behind tree)
Pruitt Trailhead Kiosk image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, February 23, 2021
7. Pruitt Trailhead Kiosk
(about 50 yards southwest of marker)
Florida Trail — Pruitt Trailhead image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, February 25, 2021
8. Florida Trail — Pruitt Trailhead
(Cross Florida Barge Canal ruins visible about 1 mile east from here • also clearly visible with Google Maps satellite view)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 26, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 239 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on February 28, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Feb. 22, 2024