Lake Wales Ridge
Florida's Lake Wales Ridge
Photo credit: FFWCC

 

The Endangered Ecosystems of Florida

 

The Lake Wales Ridge

 

To begin, what is an Ecosystem?

It is an Environment within which many Species,

both Plant (flora) and Animal, (fauna)

maintain a way of daily life, unconsciously

interdependent upon one another and

the area that they inhabit together.


The Lake Wales Ridge is the spine of Ancient Florida.

It runs right down the middle of the State for over 100 miles.

Millions of years ago, after the Seas rose due to Glacial melting,

Florida became a chain of Islands, when the seas receded,

the Islands became the Peninsula that is now Florida.

Lake Wales Ridge

The Lake Wales Ridge - Chassahowitzka WMA
Photo credit: FWC

 

Lake Wales Ridge

The Lake Wales Ridge - Chassahowitzka WMA
Photo credit: FWC

 

Lake Wales Ridge

The Lake Wales Ridge
Photo credit: FWC/Lynn Flannery

 

Lake Wales Ridge

The Lake Wales Ridge
Photo credit: FWC


 

When they were Islands, they were a most unique Ecosystem,

unlike any other in America, perhaps the world.

These Islands became the Lake Wales Ridge.


Lake Wales Ridge
Lake Wales Ridge
Photo credit: FWS

 

Species of plants and animals who once had been

confined by the water, now were free to spread out.

Apparently most of them did not go too far,

as many of them can still be found here on the Ridge.

Just a few of the 22 Endangered Species found here are:

the scrub jay, the scrub lizard, the gopher tortoise,

the sand skink, the scrub morning glory and the scrub lupine.

Archibald Biological Station- Christine V. Hawkes
Archibald Biological Station
Photo credit: Christine V. Hawkes

 

This part of Florida and its cluster of Endangered Species,

may not be found anywhere else.

The Lake Wales Ridge is indeed a true microcosm.

Top of Sugarloaf Mountain

From the top of Sugarloaf Mountain
Photo credit: lithiom6ion

 

If you want to see the Ridge, it is not difficult.

Go to Hi-way 27 where it intersects with Hi-way 50 near Clermont,

then go in either direction.

The Lake Wales Ridge runs through parts of five counties including:

 Polk, Lake, Orange, Highlands and Osceola.

The Ridge begins or ends, South of Sebring in and runs North

into Lake County for a total of about one hundred miles.

See a map of it here:

Lake Wales Ridge Map
 

Sugarloaf Mountain Road
The road to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain
Photo credit: lithiom6ion

 

Sugarloaf Mountain has the highest elevation on the Lake Wales Ridge

and all of the Florida Peninsula, reaching nearly 300 breathtaking feet.

It is truly a remarkable area and reveals just a glimpse of what

it may have been like here millions of years ago.

 


Places to learn more:

Archibald Station

Endangered Species of the Lake Wales Ridge

Florida's Ancient Islands

 

BLM

Lake Wales Ridge

 

Florida Department of Forestry

Lake Wales Ridge State Forest

 

Florida Scientist

Ecological Map of Lake Wales Ridge

 

Floridata

The Florida Scrub

 

FFWCC

Lake Wales Ridge

Lake Wales Ridge Area Map

 

Lake Wales Ridge

Endangered Species of the Ridge

 

Nature Conservancy

Lake Wales Ridge

 

NPR

Florida's Attic

The Lake Wales Ridge

 

University of Florida

Florida's Ridges

 

USGS

Lake Wales Ridge Ground Water Study

 


 

Walking with the Alligators

Write to Gator Woman

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Educating Visitors About Florida's Wildlife Since July 21, 2008

Last edited October 7, 2017

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