The Florida Division of Forestry (DOF) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have temporarily closed the Bear Lake Recreation Area in the Blackwater River State Forest, including all access to Bear Lake.
At least 10 inches of rain fell in the Munson area of north Santa Rosa County on Tuesday, causing severe erosion of the Bear Lake emergency spillway complex.
Both DOF and FWC staff fear more rainfall could lead to further erosion of the spillway and possibly endanger anyone near the dam.
“The spillway is slightly lower than the dam and acts as an emergency relief bypass when we have tremendous amounts of water coming into and exiting the lake,” said FWC fishery biologist Bob Demauro. “The spillways worked, but we had so much rainfall Tuesday and last month that we’ve got significant erosion along the spillway that has to be addressed.”
David Creamer, DOF’s area recreation administrator, said the recreation area, which includes the Bear Lake campground, will remain closed until repairs are made and the lake is re-opened to the public.
The closure is expected to last at least 30 days or until lake waters recede and safety concerns are addressed.