Near Dunnellon in Marion County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway
Welcome to the Summit
Ross Prairie is a wetland surrounded by a high-and-dry ecosystem known as sandhills. The plants and animals here live on ancient sand dunes, leftovers from when the ocean was higher.
This area's topography presented a challenge to the builders of the Cross Florida Barge Canal. They called the stretch between Ocala and Dunnellon the canal's "summit reach." To reach the top, engineers designed a series of locks that would lift barges up to five stories above sea level, where you are now.
Canal Opposition Rises
In the 1960s, environmentalists challenged the barge canal in courts and in the media. Activist Marjorie Harris Carr successfully lobbied President Richard Nixon to suspend barge canal construction. To the west, you can still see a 20-foot-deep wound in the earth — evidence of a failed 1930s attempt to build a sea-level ship canal through these high lands.
[inset 1969 leaflet text]
The present Cross Florida Barge Canal was approved by Congress in 1942 with first construction funds in 1963; but it had been considered for more than 100 years and was actually
The Barge Canal has been endorsed by the President of the United States and by Congress; by Florida’s entire congressional delegation and the Florida Legislature; by the present and several past governors of Florida and the Florida Cabinet; the State board of Conservation; The Florida League of Municipalities; the State Association of County Commissioners; Gulf Intracoastal Canal Assn.; the AFL-CIO; National Rivers and Harbors Congress; Florida Waterways Association; Florida East Coast Railroad… and many other groups and individuals whose own study of the project resulted It a determination that a completed Barge Canal will benefit all of Florida and the nation.
Economic and recreational advantages derived after completion of the Barge Canal will benefit all of Florida. In addition to the obvious assets from a low-cost bulk cargo transportation shortcut, the completed Canal will also aid in flood control and, in some cases, raise water tables. Beyond all this, the national defense aspects, alone, virtually justify earliest possible completion of the project.
“Main Street, U.S.A.” — that’s what the Cross-Florida Barge Canal has been called. When completed, it will provide 185 miles of toll free, protected
Erected by Florida State Parks.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Environment • Industry & Commerce • Parks & Recreational Areas • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical date for this entry is February 27, 1964.
Location. 29° 2.293′ N, 82° 17.779′ W. Marker is near Dunnellon, Florida, in Marion County. Marker can be reached from State Road 200, 1½ miles south of County Road 484, on the left when traveling south. Marker is located at the north end of the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway Ross Prairie Trailhead main parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10660 Southwest State Road 200, Dunnellon FL 34432, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Rest for the Weary (here, next to this marker); Shangri-La Diggings (approx. 3.4 miles away); Pruitt Trailhead (approx. 5 miles away); Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway (approx. 7.7 Landbridge West (approx. 7.7 miles away); Florida Honors and Remembers our POW’s and MIA’s (approx. 7.8 miles away); Landbridge East (approx. 7.8 miles away); Rainbow Springs (approx. 9.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dunnellon.
More about this marker. Adjacent 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). In the 1930s, regional politicians lobbied the federal government to fund canal construction as an economic recovery program. President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized $5 million in funding for the project in 1935. Work was reauthorized by Congress in 1942 as a national defense project. Planning was once again given the go-ahead in 1963 with support from President John F. Kennedy. President Lyndon Johnson set off the explosives that started construction. A lawsuit filed against the Army Corps (Submitted on February 28, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Ross Prairie Trailhead & Campground. This area is ecologically unique due to the adjacent placement of the high, dry sandhill community. Having the sandhill and wetland prairie systems adjacent to each other helps to provide habitat to a wide range of species. The habitat changes with the seasons and water volume of the prairie. (Submitted on February 28, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
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 189 times since then and 72 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on February 28, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.