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The Lake Wales Ridge is a landscape of contrasts. It includes desert-like habitats, but absorbs 50 inches of rain most years. It is the highest point in peninsular Florida, but stands about 300 feet above sea level. It is an enormous sand dune, but the ocean has long since receded. Its scrub habitat is a forest, but of miniature scale. It shelters one of the largest collections of rare organisms in the world, but its well-drained sand is attractive to both citrus farming and housing developments.

The future of the Lake Wales Ridge Ecosystem depends upon our commitment to create economic incentives for private landowners to manage their land for native species, to support public land acquisition, and to ensure these lands are effectively managed.

    THE CHALLENGE IS...

  • to ensure the survival of this native landscape so our children's children will have an idea of what Florida --the land of flowers--once was;
  • to actively care for the land; and
  • to provide recreational opportunities, while protecting the resource.

Discover how you can become involved in protecting Florida's ancient islands--the Lake Wales Ridge.

Florida's Ancient Islands-Page 1 Florida's Ancient Islands-Page 2

" The most important remaining patches lie along the Lake Wales Ridge, a chain of paleoislands running for a hundred miles down the center of Florida, in most places less that ten miles wide. It is relict seashore, tossed up more than a million years ago when ocean levels were higher and the rest of the peninsula was submerged. That ancient emergence is precisely what makes the Lake Wales Ridge so precious; it has remained unsubmerged, its ecosystems essentially undisturbed since the Miocene."

John Jerome, Author
"Scrub, Beautiful Scrub" in Heart of the Land