This 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.