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Going with the Flow: Exploring Hogtown Creek Headwaters Nature Park

Alec Kissoondyal
Friday, June 11, 2021

The aptly named Hogtown Creek Headwaters Nature Park marks the starting point of Hogtown Creek, which cuts through the city of Gainesville and flows for miles until it reaches the Floridan Aquifer.

Visitors can witness the beginning of Hogtown Creek by exploring the nature trail located in the park. The trail forms a loop that circles back to the trailhead and passes through areas containing an abundance of thriving wildlife and vegetation. A web of small streams of water flow along the trail, and although they are small trickles of water in this early stage of the journey, they will eventually merge with other bodies of water downstream to form Hogtown Creek.

The streams near the trail pass through wetlands, which play a vital role in filtering out pollution from the water. Despite the sanitary start, the creek collects pollutants as it leaves the wetlands and flows further into the city. Runoff carrying chemicals, animal waste, and even trash seep into the creek as it travels, and these pollutants eventually end up in the aquifer, which Gainesville relies on for its drinking water.

The Gainesville Clean Water Partnership official website addresses the dangers of pollution, and Hogtown Creek is listed as one of the creeks that have been impaired by  "high levels of fecal coliform bacteria exceeding state criteria".

The contamination of Hogtown Creek is a major source of concern, and an educational sign on the trail lists several ways that people can avoid polluting the water:         

  • Properly discard oil, gasoline, or other chemicals
  • Keep lawn debris away from ditches and storm drains
  • Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. Landscaping with native plants can help
  • Pick up pet waste from the yard.

The issue of pollution adds to the importance of learning about the creek. By exploring the path of the creek from its place of origin, visitors to the Headwaters Nature Park can develop a better understanding of the creek's vital role in providing drinking water to the community and the dangers of contamination as the water moves further away from the wetlands.

Read the full story here
Photos courtesy of
Alec Kissoondyal

Alec Kissoondyal is an intern at Cinema Verde and a student at the University of Florida currently pursuing a degree in English. He is also a writer for Narrow Magazine and an ambassador for the Florida Hemingway Society. His poetry and fiction have been published in Zephyr literary journal. In his spare time, Alec enjoys reading, creative writing, exploring nature parks, and listening to anything released by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

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