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Rainbow River Spared from Westgate Resort

We won!

Drone photograph of the Rainbow River
photo by David Yaroslav

For those of us who love and fight for Florida’s springs, these are words we don’t get to say often enough. WE WON! The Florida Springs Council found out on August 5th, 2020 that Westgate had withdrawn the comprehensive plan amendment and zoning change needed to build the proposed Westgate Resort along the Rainbow River.

This victory is the result of months of work and synergy between the Florida Springs Council, Rainbow River Conservation, Inc., and local volunteers. It belongs to every single person who sent an email, put up a yard sign, made a donation, wrote to the paper, knocked on doors, or helped spread the word.

I can’t overstate the significance of what you have done. So much of our work is centered around challenging rules, plans, or permits. Even when we succeed, it’s hard to quantify the impact or it may take months or years to see the results.

This win is different. The next time you paddle or float down the Rainbow, you can look at that 90 acres of undeveloped land and know that you made a real difference in the future or the Rainbow River and Dunnellon. Thank you.

We also thank Mr. Jim Gissy for withdrawing the comprehensive plan amendment and zoning change. Back in November Mr. Gissy said, “I would like to do this resort if you would like to have it as part of your city. And if you do, we’ll do it. If you don’t, we won’t.” To his credit, he kept his word.

Our success at stopping the Westgate Resort is the realization of the Florida Springs Council’s advocacy philosophy. FSC pulls together experts, lawyers, advocates, and funding from across the state and targets those resources at the biggest threats facing Florida’s springs.

We don’t just fight to fight.

We fight to win.


The Florida Springs Council dedicated tremendous staff time and resources to stopping the Westgate Rainbow River Resort. But many foundations will not support the kind of direct advocacy that we know, and just proved, works. If you would like to see the Florida Springs Council continue to win major victories like this one on behalf of Florida’s springs, please consider a donation to help us continue our advocacy work. I know of no better investment in protecting Florida’s springs and rivers.

Thank you for all that you do for our springs!


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