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St Lucie Locks / Phipps Park

St Lucie Locks / Phipps Park September 2011 Update:
We visited St. Lucie Locks again for the first time in several years. The only people there were two guys fishing and a couple of RV campers. The boat ramp was blocked off due to low water, and we couldn't tell if the locks were opening or not. The picnic area across the locks was completely overrun with vultures - it was pretty darn creepy, like something out of a Halloween horror movie, and we felt like we'd pick up some avian-borne disease just walking through the smelly grass. I can only hope the birds aren't yearly residents, but I kind of imagine that they are.

October 2007 Update:
The St Lucie Locks / Phipps Park ramp dock has been repaired.

First, if you are new to South Florida, let us start by saying that every third park is named "Phipps Park". We don't know who Phipps was, but he was seemingly quite the outdoorsman or philanthropist. Now that we've explained the "Phipps Phenomena", we can provide the St Lucie Locks / Phipps Park update. The displaced floating dock has been replaced with a single fixed dock. It looks fantastic, however, when we passed by there on a recent Saturday, the dock was PACKED with people who were fishing. As boaters know, this is generally not a prime environment for docking your boat, unless you have some bonus cash for a new prop shaft seal. On our trip, we didn't see any affected boaters, because the parking lot did not have a single vehicle with a boat trailer attached. There was plenty of parking available, however.

In conclusion, the St Lucie Locks / Phipps Park ramp is again available for use, but you may have to displace 5-10 fishing folks while launching and landing your boat. And the older information about the perceived 60 degree incline still applies.

Older information


This boat ramp, located in St Lucie County, is fairly horrific. It's a terrifying time backing down the ramp, which seems like it's ten miles long at what feels like an 80 degree incline. When you finally get to the waters of the St Lucie River, there is no indication where the drop-off might be because you aren't going to be able to see even an inch in the muddy water. After you launch your boat, good luck getting in, because there are no docks! The floating finger dock is laying on the side of the ramp, presumably thrown up there during 2005's hurricanes.

This ramp does have plenty of parking, because the entire lot will certainly be empty! In short, this is a horrible ramp that is suitable only for launching Jon boats, canoes, and kayaks.

NOTE: This area is actually a composite of two campgrounds. They are directly adjacent to each other and both are really nice. One is on the west side of lock road and is named St Lucie Lock Recreation Area. It is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers and offers 9 RV or tent sites and 8 boat sites. The other is named Phipps Park and has 50-something campsites and can accommodate humongous RVs. There is even a day-use area for picnickers across the lock. Oh yeah, you are allowed to walk across the lock while it is closed!

The 4-sun rating is for the campground, the boat ramp gets 1 sun.

Location:

SW Canal St
Stuart FL 34997

Web site:

www.saj.usace.army.mil/recreation/stlucie/slindex.htm


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