• TREPO – Newsletter

  •             TREPO Newsletter

    Three Rivers Estates Property Owners, Inc.

    PO Box 148

    Fort White, FL 32038






    March, 2023, Issue


    Letter from the Board

    By any standard, 2022 was an incredible year for the Three Rivers Estates Property Owners, Inc members. The year was full of fun and family events, such as the annual fish fry, where fish were cooked and fish tales were spun. The Fall Festival held in October was a smashing success, with neighbors starting new, or reaffirming old, friendships. Election Day was October 8, with the vigorous engagement of the membership spurred by a slate of highly qualified, popular candidates from the community. Vote counting coincided with the Annual Membership Meeting, which featured a quorum that allowed the members themselves to propose, debate, and decide issues that would promote the health and morale of the organization, carrying it into this year and beyond. The discourse was lively, with give and take, and significant decisions resulted. As a result, the organization has never been healthier and more engaged. The future is bright.

    TREPO Board of Directors Welcomes New and Returning Board Members

    Congratulations to the winners of our 2022 election: Vonda Ackerson, Charlee Thompson, Cathy Rieker, Tommy Matthews, Wayne Sellers, and James Baker, and indeed all the candidates who ran vigorous campaigns that captivated the membership. Voters came out in droves to cast their ballot. The process ran as smoothly as a puppy’s fur, thanks to rigorous election integrity efforts.


    Nature Notes from the Porch

    The Divinely Diminutive House Wren: A Fledgling Takes Flight

    By Rick Palm

    Nature can be cosmically astonishing if you just look. Case in point: The tiny House Wren, a plain brown, common backyard bird with a unique voice that flies through shrubs and low tree branches with its radar on insects. House Wrens industriously bring twigs to construct their nests in safe places, such as under the eaves of garages, and in our case, the eave of our porch.

    We enjoy our happy hour (which, in the interest of full disclosure, seems to start earlier and earlier these days) on the porch. Sitting on the porch with our wine, day after day we watched Wren parents-to-be fly out and return with twigs for the nest. Then came the magical moment when tiny-throated voices emerged, and the parents brought back bugs and worms, delicacies for nourishing their fledglings.

    And now, for the moment that seemingly transcended everything else in this world: one afternoon, we watched transfixed as a tiny baby bird took its first tentative flight. Almost falling out of the nest, it flapped its wings ineffectively and crash-landed onto our porch table, just a few feet from us, closely followed by its doting mother. If I were to try to come up with an analogy for the event, I guess it would be like the hovering human mother of a child taking its first steps: it had 100% of her attention.

    The tiny, brave bird, on the cusp of losing its fledglinghood, stood on the table for several moments with its mother’s focus and encouragement glued on it. I instantly recognized the look on the mother’s face: It reminded me of my own parents’ determined faces as they encouraged, or perhaps more accurately, strong armed me to move out of their house after I graduated from college.

    The baby bird rested for several moments on the table gathering its wits, and then heroically took its first true flight — to the end of the porch and onto our trellis. There, it held on for dear life. Its mother followed closely – with bloodshot eyes it seemed. I wasn’t sure, perhaps because of all she had been through. Mothers go through a lot, don’t they?

    And then, the miracle moment came that resulted from 60 million years of evolution on the geologic time scale: the tiny bird flew off of the trellis and was gone. We were speechless as tears welled up in our eyes.

    Then, more tears as we came to the realization that — we were out of wine!


    With DJ Ice Cream Chris! Karaoke has been conducted throughout the year to the delight of vocalists and audience members. Neighbors enjoy the joyful noise of young and older adults having a great time. So come to the next event, and release Frank Sinatra in you!

    Help Us Establish a Springs Protection Zone (SPZ) for the Lower Ichetucknee!

    Submitted to the Board of Directors by Recie Davis, SPZ Working Group — The Ichetucknee River (Spring Run), needs your help to protect it from damage caused by motorized vessels such as boats and jet skis! Recreational impacts are increasingly damaging our North Florida springs and rivers, and the Ichetucknee is no exception. While the upper part of the river is protected by the state park’s ban on motorized vessels, the Lower Ichetucknee as it flows through Three Rivers Estates has no such protection. Many weekends, especially holiday weekends, find the Lower Ichetucknee experiencing heavy motorized vessel traffic that results in turbid water and ecosystem damage to submerged aquatic vegetation and to the shoreline. In addition, the danger posed by motorized vessels to wildlife such as Florida’s iconic manatees is well known.

    Thanks to a new state law, Florida Statute 327.45, we now have an opportunity to change this situation to provide more protections for our beloved blue river. This law grants authority to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to establish Springs Protection Zones (SPZs) that “restrict the speed or operation of vessels or that prohibit anchoring, mooring, beaching or grounding of vessels to protect or prevent specified harm to first, second and third magnitude springs and spring groups and their associated spring runs.”

    In April 2022, a local citizen filed a request with the FWC to establish a non-motorized vessel SPZ for the Lower Ichetucknee. The Ichetucknee Alliance is helping with this effort. Establishing a Springs Protection Zone is a new process, and all of us, including the FWC, are learning as this process unfolds. Part of the process involves gaining public support for the SPZ request.

    If you agree that the Lower Ichetucknee could benefit from stronger protections, please consider writing a letter saying why you and/or your organization support establishing a Springs Protection Zone for the Lower Ichetucknee River. You may submit your letter electronically to ichetuckneealliance@gmail.com. For more information visit https://ichetuckneealliance.org/lower-ichetucknee-springs-protection-zone/

    Highlight: The TREPO Park Manager

    Perhaps the Board took its most significant action in 2022 to support its Park Manager search committee’s recommendation for creating the position in the first place and then its nominee for the job: Mr. Bill Brim. Park Manager Brim has filed comprehensive reports each month with the Board on his extensive activity in assessing each park on a daily (and sometimes even nightly) basis, identifying issues, and recommending solutions for Board action.

    Brim has exceeded all expectations in the fulfillment of his new duties. Some of his work has been challenging, to say the least. The adoption of the Park Manager position and the selection of Mr. Brim as its first incumbent have been bright spots for the entire TREPO community this past year. Next time you see Bill at your park, share your own assessments with him, and tip your hat to say thanks!


    Emergency Management in Three Rivers

    The Board has been working with the Suwannee County Emergency Management Agency and developed a method for the emergency manager to post directly on our website. As a storm approaches, please stay tuned to trepo.net for any public announcements from Suwannee County Emergency Management.

    Hurricane Ian served as a terrible reminder to us that our state and region are subject to a major disaster. For 2023, watch for a proposal to create a TREPO Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), a FEMA initiative. The CERT program is a nationally supported, locally implemented initiative that teaches people how to better prepare themselves for hazards that may affect their communities. Since 1993, the CERT program trains the public in basic disaster response skills such as team organization, disaster medical operations, fire safety, and light search and rescue. The ability of CERT volunteers to perform these activities frees up professional responders to focus their efforts on more complex, essential, and critical tasks.

    Did you know that the TREPO community has numerous Registered Nurses (some with longtime ICU experience), EMTs, Paramedics, and other medical professionals that could assist you in a major emergency? Did you know that ham radio operators in your neighborhoods could get the word out to your loved ones when cell service and the internet are down? Just look around you for an antenna in their backyards!

    Rules for All Parks & Facilities

    The following rules are to be followed at all TREPO parks and facilities.

    ▪ No key, no entrance. Parks and facilities are reserved for members and their guests.

    Members are responsible for their guests.

    ▪ When not in use, all gates must always remain closed. It is the responsibility of each

    member to use the gates to see that each gate is closed and locked once entrance or exit

    has been accomplished. No propping the gate open.

    ▪ Be respectful to the gate greeters and TREPO staff. If they ask for your name and key

    number, you must give them the information. Yelling and profanity directed to them will

    not be tolerated and you may be asked to leave.

    ▪ No open fires, Fires allowed in firepits at Brennan Park and Camping Park only.

    ▪ No glass containers

    ▪ No lifeguards on duty, Use at your own risk.

    ▪ No firearms or weapons of any kind. No hunting.

    ▪ No unmanned aerial vehicles within the parks.

    ▪ No mooring of watercraft

    ▪ No profanity or excessive noise, or inappropriate behavior

    ▪ No digging, excavation, or removal of artifacts

    ▪ Registered service dogs are permitted but must be leashed. Pets are allowed on a leash

    at Fishing Park and Boat Ramp Park to and from boat only.

    ▪ Camping at Camping Park only

    ▪ Trailers are allowed at Boat Ramps in Columbia and Suwannee counties and at the

    Clubhouse parking lot

    ▪ Prior approval is required for groups larger than 12 people. The keyholder should assign a gate person to their party in order to let guests in and out. This is not the responsibility of the gate greeter. A group leader is required for each group of 12 for gate entry and use of restrooms. Each group of 12 tubers must have a leader to ensure all guests get in and down the water in a timely manner. No more than 12 tubers are to be launched at one time. No extended mooring of watercraft.

    ▪ Be respectful and kind to all TREPO members.



    A Timeline of Ichetucknee Springs State Park: Part 5


    By: Samuel A. Cole, Park Biologist, Ichetucknee Springs State Park

    Editor’s Note: This is the fifth part of an article on the fascinating geologic and cultural history of our area. The prior articles published in the newsletter are available on our website, www.trepo.net.


    1700’s and Early 1800’s: Frontiers and Pioneers


    For the remainder of the Spanish period and the British Occupation, and while the British Colonies to the north were being forged into the fledgling United States of America, the Ichetucknee Springs area was considered a wild and sometimes hostile frontier. “White man” settlements were mostly established along the coasts, with a few incursions into the interior along the major rivers such as the Suwannee and Santa Fe. At the turn of the 19th Century, the Seminole Indians were well established in many parts of Florida. However, there is no documentation of an early Seminole Indian presence within the park.


    • 1763: Florida ceded to Great Britain by Spain. Great Britain divided Florida into two regions: West Florida, from the Mississippi River to the Apalachicola River, and East Florida, the remaining peninsula.
    • 1765: Naturalist John Bartram traveled through northeastern Florida.
    • 1774: John Bartram’s son William Bartram, also a naturalist, made his famous journey through
    • central Florida, traveling through the Alachua Prairie and across the Suwannee River near
    • 1778: Creek-based Seminole Indians established in Weechatooka. Weechatooka, which has never been relocated by modern-day archaeologists, was believed to be a Creek/Seminole town near the confluence of the Ichetucknee and Santa Fe Rivers. The Creek-derived word for the nearby river was Weechatookamee, believed to mean “Pond of the Beaver.” The name was applied to the general area, even to the old, abandoned fields of the Spanish Mission grounds, far upriver. This name was later changed by white settlers and eventually evolved into the present-day word Ichetucknee.” Interestingly, the park’s namesake, the beaver, was absent from the area for many decades until it started making a comeback during the 1980s.
    • 1778: British surveyor Joseph Purcell noted the Weechatookamee River on his map, traveling by
    • and describing the region around the Head Spring and Rose Sink.
    • 1783: Florida returned to Spain by Great Britain as a consequence of the American Revolutionary War.
    • 1817-1818: First Seminole War. The portion of this war that affected Florida was fought mostly in West Florida, from Pensacola to the Apalachicola River Valley.
    • 1821: La Florida ceded by Spain to the United States. Florida officially became a U.S. Territory, and the Settlement period began.
    • 1826: The Bellamy Road Opens. Now known as the Old Bellamy Road or Old Spanish Trail, this road linked St. Augustine to Pensacola and was the first major overland route through northern Florida by the newly established Territory. Old Bellamy Road passed just to the north of the Ichetucknee Head Spring, at the north end of the park.
    • 1837: The Second Seminole War (1835 – 1842). The “real” Fort White was built on the banks of the Santa Fe River as a protection to river commerce and nearby settlers from raids by bands of Seminole Indians established in the region.



    Not all Fun and Games…


    It’s incredible how well the parks run, given the traffic they receive. But it takes the dedicated, hard work of not only your Board of Directors but you, too, if we are all to benefit from the natural beauty and the recreational opportunity of this truly unique and wonderful community! Stay involved and up-to-date! Visit TREPO.net for ongoing information and ways you can get involved.


    Your TREPO Board of Directors and Officers




    CHAIR, Glenn Hunter


    BOARD MEMBERS: Vonda Ackerson, John Bryant, Sammy Keen, Cathy Rieker, Tommy Matthews, Phyllis Rea, Charlee Thompson, Tom Tramel, Sassy Johnson, Wayne Sellers, James Baker, Rick Palm


    OFFICERS: President Teri Hester; Vice President Mickey Olsen; Secretary Hilda Gilchrist; Treasurer Vicki Imm



    Park Manager: Bill Brim; Newsletter Editor: Rick Palm


    Upcoming TREPO Events — For a list of coming events, see https://www.facebook.com/groups/trepo/events


    Meeting Minutes can be found at: https://trepo.net/meetings/


    The Bylaws can be read at: https://trepo.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/bylaws.pdf


    Restrictions and Covenants can be found at: https://trepo.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Restrictions-and-Covenants.pdf


    Deed restrictions can be found at: https://trepo.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Deed-Restrictions-Columbia-County.pdf


    Email: info@trepo.net; Phone: 386-497-3320


    Three Rivers Estates Property Owners, Inc.

    Application for Membership/Renewal

    Membership #_______


    Name of property owners(s)__________________________________________________________

    (As shown on your deed)


    Street/PO Box ______________________________________________

    Apt. No._________________


    Phone # (____)-_____-_________

    Email Address_________________________________________


    Property Location: Unit____ Block____Lot(s)________County _______ _____________________

    (Property Street Name)


    DUES: $150.00 annually _________ Incl. 2 keys, quarterly newsletters

    Late Fee After 1/31


    After 2/28




    $2.00 (New Member By-Laws free)




    Payment Method:

    Total Submitted

    $ _________ ___Check ___Money Order ___ Online Payment


    Locks are changed mid-January. Late fees will be charged per the above schedule. Keys will be mailed out by the end of January if they are not picked up on key day. Locks are changed mid-January. Late fees will be charged per the above schedule. I will pick up my keys ( ) Please mail my keys ( )


    Can you volunteer for or contribute towards ( ) Maintenance, ( ) Security, ( ) Newsletter, ( ) Donation of Building Materials, ( ) Legal Advisor, ( ) Other (Please specify) ______________________________________________



    All members in good standing, their relatives and their guests who accompany them shall have full use of the recreation areas owned by Three Rivers Estates Property Owners, Inc. This use shall include, but not be limited to, swimming, boating, picnicking and other recreation. Said recreation area will be owned, operated, controlled and managed by the corporation. It is the intent of this corporation that utilization of said recreation area be limited exclusively to lot owners in Three Rivers Estates, their relatives and their guests who accompany them.


    Use of the recreation areas by groups shall be in limited scope and number. Where the group using or planning to use a recreation area or areas exceeds or is expected to exceed twelve (12) persons in number, then permission for such use shall be first obtained from the

    president or vice-president or person designated by the president to act upon such request and in no event shall approval be unreasonably withheld. No other persons or groups of non-members shall be permitted to use the recreation areas without prior approval of the Board of Directors with such approval duly noted in the minutes of the Board meeting. The officers of the corporation and their designees are directed to take such action as they may deem appropriate to prosecute trespassers and prevent unauthorized use of any of the recreation areas under the control of the corporation.


    By signing this membership application, you acknowledge you have read, understand, and agree to abide by the TREPO Bylaws, Restrictions and Covenants, and Deed restrictions currently in effect and found at www.trepo.net/documents.



    Printed Name ________________________________________

    Signature ___________________________________________________________

    Date _________________________________________________________________