First explored by naturalist William Bartram in the 1760s, the
St. Johns River stretches 310 miles along Florida's east coast,
making it the longest river in the state. The first "highway"
through the once wild interior of Florida, the St. Johns may appear
ordinary, but within its banks are some of the most fascinating
natural phenomena and historic mysteries in the state. The river,
no longer the commercial resource it once was, is now largely
ignored by Florida's residents and visitors alike.
In the first contemporary book about this American Heritage
River, Bill Belleville describes his journey down the length of the
St. Johns, kayaking, boating, hiking its riverbanks, diving its
springs, and exploring its underwater caves. He rediscovers the
natural Florida and establishes his connection with a place once
loved for its untamed beauty. Belleville involves scientists,
environmentalists, fishermen, cave divers, and folk historians in
his journey, soliciting their companionship and their expertise.
River of Lakes weaves together the biological, cultural,
anthropological, archaeological, and ecological aspects of the St.
Johns, capturing the essence of its remarkable history and
intrinsic value as a natural wonder.