The Lake Wales Ridge Wildlife and Environmental
Area consists of 19 separate tracts scattered along 75 miles of the
Lake Wales Ridge. Since the ridge averages less than 10 miles wide
throughout its length, the tracts with few exceptions are within a
few miles of U.S. 27. The ridge was isolated from other parts of
the Florida peninsula during periods of sea level rise over the
On the ancient shorelines and dunes, plants and
animals found nowhere else on earth evolved. Twenty-two species of
plants and five species of animals found here are so rare that they
are protected by the federal government. Here you find the Florida
scrub-jay, the sand skink, and the Lake Placid scrub mint, whose
insect repellent properties have only recently been discovered. You
can get involved in protecting these rare plants and animals by
joining the Ridge Rangers volunteer program.
Roughly eighty-five percent of the land on the
ridge has been developed, first for citrus groves and cattle
ranches and more recently for residences. This area was acquired to
preserve and perpetuate remaining natural areas, and thus
recreational uses are limited to those consistent with this goal.
The Lake Placid Scrub tract is divided into three sections (west,
central and east) by paved roads. Horseback riding is allowed in
the west and central sections by permit only. Horseback
riding is also allowed at the Carter Creek tract by permit only and
the Royce Unit (no permit required). To apply for a horseback
riding permit for the Lake Placid Scrub and Carter Creek tracts,
visit MyFWC.com. Hiking and biking are allowed in
the Lake Placid Scrub tract, Carter Creek tract and Royce
Unit. There is parking at all three locations.
View the Conceptual
for Lake Wales Ridge Wildlife and Environmental Area.