Ichetucknee Springs, a collection of eight major springs creating the Ichetucknee River, has been a magnet for people and wildlife for more than 10,000 years. Native Timucuans populated the area before the arrival of the Europeans. Hernando DeSoto, one of the first Europeans to explore Florida, is thought to have visited the springs in 1539. In 1970, Ichetucknee Springs became a Florida State Park, and in 1972, the springs and river were declared a national landmark. Today, the springs are a place for family and friends to enjoy the cool water and beautiful scenery. From the end of May until early September, tubing down the river is the premier activity in the area. In addition to tubing, visitors can enjoy picnicking, snorkeling, canoeing, swimming, hiking, and wildlife viewing.