Description - **Note: This information was provided by www.floridastateparks.org.
Copyright: - Florida Division of Recreation & Parks
Wildlife at Kissimmee Preserve
Located along the east bank of the Kissimmee River, the 46,000-acre preserve occurs in the heart of Florida's grassland-palmetto country. Long noted for its natural range and grazing qualities as well as for its frequent fires, these prairie lands represent a part of Florida's natural and cultural heritage that has all but disappeared. Modernization of the cattle industry and movement of the citrus industry southward have resulted in conversion of most of the once extensive prairie grassland ecosystem to more intensive uses. The preserve is one of the last, highest quality and largest remaining tracts of Kissimmee River Valley native grasslands. Dry prairie is the dominant natural community at the preserve. Prairie is probably the least appreciated, least studied and most incompletely documented of Florida's ecosystems.
- Kissimmee Preserve is critical for the survival of many rare prairie-adapted species. These species include the Florida grasshopper sparrow, snail kite, Florida sandhill crane and crested caracara. The preserve may prove to be the largest and highest quality tract of habitation in the world for the endangered Florida grasshopper sparrow.
The preserve was purchased in 1997 and opened to the public in 1998. The preserve offers a wilderness type recreational experience with outstanding opportunities for wildlife viewing. There are plans to develop hiking, bicycling and horseback riding trails.
Recreation - Within the broadest dry prairie in Florida are plans for multi-use trails and picnicking opportunities. Today, visitors are invited to observe wildlife.
Climate - Southern Florida lies within a subtropical climate. It is usually hot and humid in the summer with brief afternoon thundershowers. It is not unusual for temperatures to exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit with averages reaching above 83 degrees Fahrenheit (above 29 Celsius). Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging above 64 degrees Fahrenheit (above 18 Celsius). The average precipitation for the southeast area is more than 60 inches per year. The powerful rays of the sun make it a good idea to wear hats and sunglasses along with using a SPF-15 (or above) sunscreen when planning outdoor activities.
Southeast Florida begins along the eastern shores of Lake Okeechobee stretching over to Hutchinson Island and following the Atlantic Coast south bound all the way to Key West. The western boundary falls along the Big Cypress National Preserve running north to the southwestern shores of Lake Okeechobee.