4335 Firetower Rd.  Haines City , FL 33844

 

(863) 696-1112

Description
Located along the beautiful Lake Wales Ridge, Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park, covers more than 8,000 acres of scrub, sandhill and flatwoods land, in addition to 65 acres of submerged land. The preserve offers six miles of hiking trails, seven miles of equestrian trails, a covered pavilion, fishing and excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. The preserve is home to numerous rare plants, such as scrub morning glory, scrub plum, pygmy fringe tree and cutthroat grass and several protected animal species including Florida scrub-jays, bald eagles, gopher tortoises and Florida scrub lizards. When you visit the preserve make sure you are prepared for the rugged conditions typical of the scrub habitat. Bring plenty of water and be prepared for the challenging trails at the park. Enjoy your visit and bring back memories of one of the rarer habitats in Florida.

Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park became a state park in December 1991. The 8,000-acre preserve is located in Polk County, Florida, and adjoins Lake Kissimmee State Park to the southeast.

Catfish Creek State Park lies along the rare Lake Wales Ridge ecosystem. Animal and plant species found nowhere else in the world exist in this ecosystem and within the park. The scrub habitat preserved here also represents one of Florida's oldest natural landscapes.

Catfish Creek is home to a number of protected animal species including the gopher tortoise. The gopher tortoise is an ancient species that makes its home in dry, sandy habitats ideal for burrow-digging. Gopher tortoise burrows can be 40 feet long and 10 feet deep and often house many other animals, including mice, snakes, rabbits and frogs.

The Florida scrub jay is another threatened species that calls Catfish Creek home. The scrub jay depends on the sandy soils and low-growing vegetation of the scrub, making the preservation of this park and other such habitats important in the protection of this bird.

One of the stateliest residents of the park is the American Bald Eagle. Native to North America, the bald eagle feeds on fish and other water inhabitants. Although its population is increasing, these remarkable animals are still protected by the Endangered Species Act.

Did you know that some ecosystems need regular fire to survive? While wildfire can be scary, prescribed fires are professionally conducted and contained, and are safe and important tools for maintaining and preserving the fire-dependent ecosystems at the park.


Activities:

FISHING
Catfish Creeks offers fishing from ponds within the park...although there is an approximate 1 mile hike from the parking lot!

HIKING/NATURE TRAIL
Catfish Creek offers 6 miles of trails through and around the scrub, flatwoods and ponds.

HORSE/EQUESTRIAN TRAIL
There are approximately 8 miles of trails available for horseback riding.

PICNICKING
A small picnic area is available at the parking lot areas...first come, first served.

WILDLIFE VIEWING
Hikers will observe many plants and animals found in the rare Lake Wales Ridge habitat.

Getting There:

  • Catfish Creek Preserve is located about 35 miles south of Orlando.
  • From U.S. 27, turn east on County Road 542, through Dundee. Go about eight miles to Fire Tower Road.







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