Discover Florida: Wekiva Springs State Park

1 02 2009

wekiva

The Wekiva River and Swamp have become a holy grail for Central Florida Environmentalists. But when you visit the area as I have recently it’s easy to see why Central Florida’s rapid development has halted when it conflicts with the health of the Wekiva River area. Attempts to complete the missing link of the Beltway around Orlando have met strong opposition and the only way to complete the highway appears to be through a compromise that will force the Highway to share the current route of SR 46 for several miles.

Governor Charlie Crist’s recent veto of Florida Forever funds ensures the long term health of this ecosystem, and the continued efforts to restore the entire River and Swamp region. The Florida Black Bear an endangered species is the Springs areas most famous resident. Alligators and Turtles are also frequently found in the region.

Here is the Florida State Parks website description of the Springs:

Located at the headwaters of the Wekiva River, the beautiful vistas within this park offer a glimpse of what Central Florida looked like when Timucuan Indians fished and hunted these lands. Just one hour from most central Florida attractions, Wekiwa Springs offers visitors the opportunity to relax in a natural setting, enjoy a picnic, or take a swim in the cool spring. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle along the Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run. Thirteen miles of trails provide opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. Options for camping include a full facility campground and primitive camping areas. Canoe and kayak rentals are available.

kartik-wekiva-river


North of the Springs the Wekiva River runs for 16 miles through the Swamp. Below is the State Parks description of the Wekiva River:

“Central Florida nature exists in its purest form along four miles of the Wekiva River and Blackwater Creek. For thousands of years, Native Americans valued the abundance of wildlife in this area. This system of blackwater streams and wetlands provides habitat for black bears, river otters, alligators, wood storks, and sandhill cranes. Visitors can stroll along the Sand Hill Nature Trail for a self guided tour of the native Florida plants and wildlife found at the park. Canoeists can paddle through the park on the Wekiva River. Equestrian camping is available in designated areas and can be reserved by calling Wekiwa Springs State Park. Horse stalls and corrals are available for equestrian campers. Located nine miles west of Sanford on State Road 46.”

The entire Wekiva Springs/River/Swamp area is unique and critical for the continued health of Central Florida’s environment.



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