Spruce Creek is a unique, natural blackwater stream that courses through the Spruce Creek Basin. There are few examples of this type of river left undisturbed in Florida. The term "blackwater" refers to the tannic acid staining caused by the swampy vegetation in the low-lying upper reaches of the creek.. The navigable portion of the river itself begins as a shallow cypress swamp some 10 miles upstream from itsí confluence with the Halifax river. This swamp gives way to a narrow stream that very gradually broadens downstream into Strickland Bay. As the river courses towards the coast, the associated aquatic habitats gradually change from typical freshwater hardwood swamp to freshwater marsh to saltwater marsh and mangrove swamp in a classic estaurine ecosystem. Spruce Creek enjoys a Class III water quality rating, and Outstanding Florida Waters designation due to its relatively undisturbed condition, and is also designated as an official State Canoe trail.
The river is host to a variety of endangered species and special wildlife areas, including: crab/shrimp nursery areas, diverse fish and invertibrate breeding and nursery areas, nesting areas for birds such as the American Oyster Catcher, the Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, the Florida Sandhill Crane, a variety of raptors, Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers, and the endangered wood stork. The rare Atlantic salt marsh snake has been observed, and of course, many Alligators. It is this diversity in aquatic habitat, flora and fauna that makes this river such a unique natural resource, and an excellent candidate for a public park setting. The biological diversity and contrast between upstream and downstream areas in the Spruce Creek watershed make this river an extremely unique, natural area that is ideal for many types of Public park related recreational uses such as boating, fishing, birdwatching, canoeing, camping, and hiking. Additionally, this natural area lends itself well to environmentally related research and educational activities.