Florida is situated in the southernmost point of the United States covering a total area of about 65,000 square miles with around 20 million inhabitants making it the 3rd most populous state in the country. There are 18 national natural landmarks strewn across the state of Florida that hold both historical and cultural importance. All these landmarks have been designated as such by the National Natural Landmark program that has been in effect since 1962. Some of the notable landmarks in Florida include the following.
National Natural Landmarks in Florida
Archbold Biological Station
Sitting on an area of about 8 square miles, the Archbold Biological Station is a research institute that was set up to provide solutions to an increasing threat to the ecosystem. The station was established in 1941 by Richard Archbold, and is now home to more than 19 threatened species. Besides providing grounds for research and education, the station also allows visitors as well as hosting students who are interested in the preservation of the ecosystem. Archbold Biological Station was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 2007 having already been designated as a natural landmark in 1987.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Corkscrew Swamp is located in Naples, Florida and it is home to the endangered bald cypress species of tree that were nearly eradicated from America by extensive logging in the 1940s. The sanctuary covers an estimated area of about 17 square miles, and it was established in 1954. Well-wishers like Lee Tidewater Cypress Center donated most of the land. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is open to visitors who can get the chance to take a walk through the pine flatwoods, marshes, and the prairies. The sanctuary is also home to the Wood Stork, an endangered wetland bird that has made the area its breeding ground. The swamp became a national natural landmark in 1964.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Ichetucknee Park was established in 1971 and covers an area of about 2,241 acres of land with the Ichetucknee River cutting through. The park is home to hardwood hammocks, limestone caves and outcrops, natural springs, and underground aquifers. The land on which the park sits on used to be the property of Loncala Phosphate Corporation before the state of Florida bought it for $1.85 million in 1970. The park is also home to white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, water snakes, alligators, and many other animal species. The park usually receives a lot of visitors during the summer months with gates opening at 8:00 am and closing at sunset.
Waccasassa Bay Preserve State Park
Waccasassa State Park was designated as a natural landmark in 1976 and covers an area of about 48 square miles that is made up mainly of salt marshes. Being flooded all year round means that the park is only accessible by boat when it opens at 8:00 am. The park is inhabited by saltwater fish as well as shellfish and a handful of endangered species like bald eagles, black bears, manatees, and alligators.
Distribution of the Landmarks
All of these natural landmarks are found within 14 of Florida's 67 counties. The county of Alachua leads the pack with three of the 18 landmarks. The counties of Collier and Levy come second each with 2 of the landmarks. The rest are distributed across 11 other counties. In addition, 10 of 18 landmarks are owned by the state, while 2 are federally owned, 2 are privately owned, and 4 have combined state and private ownership.