Audubon Florida News

Florida’s Special Places: Rock Springs Run State Reserve

posted on April 1, 2011 in FL Special Places

Rock Springs Run State Reserve Sign by Mary KeimThis nominee for Florida’s Special Places comes from Deborah Green, Vice-President of Orange Audubon Society. Please enjoy her nominee, Rock Springs Run State Reserve. Tell us, have you ever visited this incredible piece of natural Florida? Tell us in the comment section or on Facebook! Enjoy:

Rock Springs Run State Reserve, located in Lake County in Central Florida, is one of Florida’s Special Places. The Reserve, which comprises nearly 14,000 acres, features pristine shoreline and swamps along the Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run, as well as upland sand pine scrub and pine flatwoods. Within the Wekiva River Basin lies a complex of waterways established as the first congressionally-designated National Wild and Scenic River Basin in Florida. In March 1983, the first parcel of Rock Springs Run State Reserve was purchased for habitat preservation, watershed protection and to provide recreational opportunities for Central Floridians. Additional purchases in 1991 and 1995, which connected to Wekiwa Springs State Park, Lower Wekiva River State Preserve, and Seminole State Forest, have expanded the area into significant preserved natural acreage in Orange and Lake counties.

Within the Reserve and rest of the the Wekiva River Basin, there are an estimated 100 Florida black bears, in a population considered part of the Ocala National Forest population. Two large tunnels under SR-46 at the entrance to the Reserve allow not only bears to cross busy SR-46 safely, but other wildlife as well, like white-tailed deer, bobcats, coyotes and turkeys. The underpass just east of the main entrance was completed in November 1994, with a second one slightly farther west completed in 2006. These bear underpasses were a joint effort of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Department of Transportation, and have served as a model for other wildlife underpasses around the state.

The Reserve is an important bird habitat as well, with Florida Scrub-Jays colonizing from adjacent Seminole State Forest following specified prescribed burns. In addition to birding, visitors can bike or hike along 17 miles of trails, and guided horseback trail rides and rentals are available. During fall weekends hunting is allowed, adding to the list of recreational activities one can enjoy. The Reserve is open from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. daily, and is managed through Wekiwa Springs State Park. It is located off State Road 46- Address: 30601 CR 433, Sorrento, Florida 32776. On behalf of the members of Orange Audubon Society and many Central Floridians, we ask that this Reserve be considered for its importance and kept open.

It is truly one of Florida’s Special Places.

8 Comments

  1. Was at Rock Springs Run State Reserve Saturday with my Habitats class. There are some nice improvements near the Stables area, with the addition of primitive camping. Good, up to date bathrooms. The rest of the Reserve is still quite wild or in process of restoration with young planted longleaf pines. My favorite hiking trail is to the right from the first parking lot.

    Comment by Deborah Green — April 4, 2011 @ 6:05 am

  2. RSRSR is a wonderful and important Special Place. The biological diversity is great because of the quality and variety of habitats. As mentioned, you may see black bear, bobcat, and Florida Scrub Jays, but you can also see Florida scrub lizards, Sandhill Cranes, gopher tortoises and more. At times, wildflowers can be plentiful and that brings out the butterflies. RSRSR serves the area by preserving water quality, both surface and groundwater. There is also the three-bedroom Hammock House located on the Wekiva River that can be rented for group gatherings. Enjoy.

    Comment by Bob Stamps — April 5, 2011 @ 4:06 am

  3. Let’s face it, with imperiled habitats, listed species and Rock Springs Run, the Florida Park Service has done an outstanding job preserving a piece of the “real” Florida. Add this property as a “must see” on your bucket list!

    Comment by Sherry Williams — April 5, 2011 @ 5:15 am

  4. rock spring is just a lovely place to go and enjoy.

    Comment by kathycorbett — April 6, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

  5. Great park and easily accessible for Central Florida residents and visiors. It is certainly not a top budget item to keep open. Would be a big loss for it to close.

    Comment by Barbara P atson — April 7, 2011 @ 6:05 am

  6. Rock Springs is a special place to hike, relax and enjoy nature. It is not uncomon to see fox squirrels, bear, eagles, great blue herons, sandhill cranes etc while hiking. I hope it stays protected for wildlife and people.

    Comment by Shirley Schue — April 9, 2011 @ 8:00 am

  7. Rock SPrings is one of our favorite places in Florida. It is the best place to see wildlife, to take a hike and swim. One Mothers Day we were hiking in Rock Springs and a beautiful black bear was on the trail. We also take our out of town guest to Rock Springs to experience the real Florida.

    Comment by Mary-Slater Linn — April 11, 2011 @ 4:34 am

  8. Rock Springs Reserve is not only important for recreation and wildlife but for protection of valuable water resources; Wekiwa Springs, Rock Springs, Wekiva River and, of course, the Floridan Aquifer. Protection of the Wekiva Basin has been supported by a majority of citizens for many years. For the health of the LONG TERM economy of the the region, it is critical to protect our water resources, parks and reserves such as Rock Springs Run SR.

    Comment by Pat Harden — April 18, 2011 @ 11:59 am

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