Sunday, November 28, 2010

Peacock Springs State Park renamed in filmmaker and cave diver's honor

Wes Skiles spent his life exploring underwater caves around the world

Friends and family of renowned cave diver and filmmaker Wes Skiles gathered Tuesday to see Peacock Springs State Park renamed in his honor.

Skiles, a 52-year-old freelance nature photographer, owned a production company based in High Springs.
He died July 22 in a diving accident while shooting video of an ocean reef about 3 miles east of Boynton Beach inlet.

After weeks of investigation and toxicology tests, Palm Beach County authorities were unable to determine what might have caused his death.

Early this month, Harold Ruslander of the Palm Beach County medical examiner's office said "there was nothing to indicate natural causes or outside forces."

Ruslander added, "All we're going to be able to say is that it was an accidental drowning."

A High Springs native, Skiles spent his life exploring, mapping, photographing and filming springs and underwater caves in North Florida and around the world.

He also avidly promoted the preservation of Florida's natural ecosystems — especially its unique springs. Peacock Springs in Luraville, outside Live Oak, was one of the spots he was dedicated to preserving.

Skiles' longtime friend, Mimi Drew, state secretary for the Department of Environmental Protection, initiated the request to have the park at the springs renamed.

By Diane Chun
Staff writer
The Gainesville Sun

Published: Friday, November 19, 2010 at 11:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 19, 2010 at 11:40 p.m.


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