Friday, March 14, 2008

Rock Springs Run State Reserve

This delightful park is located about an hour north of Orlando in the thickly wooded wilds of eastern Lake County. Rock Run Springs State Reserve is 8,750 acres of sand pine scrub, pine flatwoods, bayheads, hammocks and swamps. Several artesian springs come together to form the waterway of Rock Run and it is a very popular destination for canoe and kayak enthusiasts.

Along Florida Hwy. 46 near the park entrance

This park attracted my interest because it is a well known habitat for the endangered Florida black bear. Although primarily a nocturnal animal I still wanted to set out deep into woods of this park to see if I could catch a glimpse of this magnificent and elusive critter. Alas, all that we found were some very old bear droppings scattered along the trail but the beauty and quiet of this pristine sanctuary was well worth the trip despite the lack of any encounters with a bear. Better luck next time.

Prime bear habitat deep in the pine scrub

Florida black bear (Ursus americanus floridanus)

Bottom land swamp forest

Tracking my quarry through the brush

Swamp cub

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