Prairie Lakes Unit, Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area
25 miles South of St. Cloud on SR 523 (Canoe Creek Rd)
Above: Everglades Trail Kiosk #4.
This dry prairie habitat fosters much bird life. Regardless of when you visit, your chances of seeing a bald eagle are high. In addition to bird watching, visitors can also hunt, fish, hike, and camp while at the Prairie Lakes Unit.
Phone: (352) 732-1225 (FWC office.)
Above: A beautiful vista of a dry prairie. I had to stop and just look in awe.
It took me two visits to find the kiosk. That is because of bridge construction on the first visit, which had closed the road that I had to go down. I finally found it on the second visit, in the parking area for the observation tower on the south end of Lake Jackson. At the very opposite of where I entered the preserve off Canoe Creek Road.
Above: Look at Lake Jackson from the observation tower. (What--another place named after the manifest destiny president?!?)
This was the hardest off all the Everglades Trail kiosks to reach because of the distance I had to travel down the rugged preserve roads. And the final one I had to visit. Instead of the usual brochure box under the panels, a plastic brochure box on the side post had some brochures in it. Okay, I’ll count that as a brochure box.
Above: Site specific panel.
Above: All three panels in the kiosk.
Above: Detail on the panel of the work to restore the Kissimmee River. An important part of the Everglades restoration plan.
I would recommend visiting with a truck, because a small car might not do very well on the unpaved roads. I was also leery about visiting during hunting season, but it was during the middle of the week, and I only saw one other vehicle in the preserve that appeared to be hunting.
The thing I really loved about this park was that it is old Florida that I remember from years ago. I did not see areas chocked off by exotic plants, and the hammocks filled with live oaks and sable palms I thought were absolutely beautiful. There is a driving tour of the preserve, and I ordered a brochure of it before I visited of the preserve and driving tour from the FWC web site. I really enjoyed my visit, even if the roads are unpaved.
Above: Palm Hammock Trail; a short 1/4 mile trail that loops through a palm hammock. This is the old Florida that I really love, and brings back pleasant memories from my childhood. I remember when much of Seminole County looked like this, only to be gone forever.