The Lake County Water Authority’s land preservation programs aim to first conserve and protect our irreplaceable natural resources. The Clermont community benefits as these lands are home to natural resources like plants and wildlife, freshwater supplies, geologic features and historical resources. The second part of this program is to use these conservation lands in a compatible public recreational activity. These recreational activities must have a low impact and not compromise the natural value of the land.
Since 1989, the Water Authority has purchased or donated sensitive lands. The Water Authority owns 6,600 acres. 76% (7,042 acres), of which are wetlands, sinkholes, or shorelines.
The wetlands and uplands provide protection for aquifer recharge areas (e.g. Wolf BranchSink Preserve), habitat for wildlife (e.g. FlatIsland Preserve), protection of endangered plant communities (e.g. Crooked River Preserve), habitat for fish and water-based recreational opportunities, such as Bourlay Historic Nature Park).
The 60-acre property was bought in 1994 to preserve a mile of forested wetlands that runs along the Crooked river corridor. The riparian habitat is dominated cypresses and ferns. The wetlands quickly transition into dry upland communities like scrub and sandhill. The scrub is covered in white sands, and the vegetation is dense and low. The sandhill is characterized by rolling yellow sands, long-leaf pines, and turkey oaks. You can request paddles, canoes, and flotation vests by contacting the LCWA office.
LCWA will protect Crooked River’s environmental quality and preserve the Preserve. It will also provide recreational opportunities for residents of Lake County in the future. The property is located south of Clermont, at the intersection of Lake Louisa (a.k.a. Palatlakaha River) was acquired by the LCWA to preserve a mile of forested wetlands running along the Crooked River corridor.
The property was previously used for growing citrus. While most of the land was cleared for citrus production, the remaining wetland areas were kept intact. The northwestern part of the property was home to a house built in 1930. It was used as a residence for the caretaker.
It currently houses the LCWA’s resident. Part of the grant that was provided by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Recreational Trails Program for funding the ADA restrooms, walkways and trailhead renovations was used to fund the ADA restrooms.
Over the years, many natural communities have been affected. The Lake County Water Authority (LCWA), in 1993 and 1994, purchased the 63.4 acre site through the LCWA Land Preservation Program. The objectives of. The objectives of this program are to preserve the irreplaceable natural resource and to use these lands for compatible public recreational purposes.
The LCWA protects Crooked River’s environmental quality and preserves the Preserve. It also provides compatible recreational opportunities for residents of Lake County for many years.
The Cypress Trail’s side trail takes you from the edge to the forested wetlands into the transitional zone. A small shrub called titi (rhymes with bye) will be visible to the visitors. In late spring and early summer, titi flowers with long spikes of white flowers or racemes.
Visitors can also hike from the Cypress Trail to the Sink Trail. The trail leads to the two sinkhole lakes located on the property. Many sinkholes are dotted the landscape of Central Florida because of its geology. Sinkholes are a result of slow, natural erosion in Florida’s limestone terrain. As you walk towards Lake Louisa from the south end, the Preserve’s live oak and laurel branches will curve to create beautiful canopies with Spanish moss. Spanish moss, although quite common, is not a Spanish or a moss. It is an epiphyte or air plant that relies on the moisture in the air, and the dust and particles it receives from the wind. These epiphytes, such as orchids or bromeliads, live in the darkened hammocks. This section of the trail is a great place to hear warblers, blue jays and woodpeckers.
This side trail, which runs parallel to the Sink Trail, takes you deeper into the forested wetlands. Hikers can see red bay, buttonbush and dahoon Holly.
Driving directions from Crooked River Preserve to Lake-Sumter State College.
Driving directions from Crooked River Preserve to Family Florida Realty.