Beachfront Property Circa 100,000 BC

Blue Spring State Park, Orange City, Volusia County

Blue Spring State Park revolves around water — the St. Johns, the run and the spring itself, of course. Water, water everywhere. Except here. This is a portion of the Deland Ridge, the highest elevation within Blue Spring State Park, 80 feet above sea level, or there abouts. The ridge was beachfront property about 100,000 years ago. Today, it's scrub; the deep beach sand doesn't hold much in the way of moisture, so any rain that falls here will seep deep into the ground, generally beyond the roots of the plants that grow here. The result is land covered with scrub oaks, saw palmetto and other plants that can live with minimal moisture. There are several families of Florida scrub jays living here. The jays are the only birds found in Florida and nowhere else in the world. They're also listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Follow the Pine Island Trail from the parking lot through the hardwood forest and you'll notice the scenery slowly changing; the sweetgums and the live oaks disappear, replaced by cabbage palms and sand pines. You've hit a patch of scrubby flatwoods. It might not be evident but you're slowly walking uphill. Continue along the trail and you'll come to the scrub. On top of everything else, there is little shade here, which combined with the white, reflective sand makes the area hotter as well. It's tough, tough land and only the toughest of plants and animals can live here.



Published by Wild South Florida, PO Box 7241, Delray Beach, FL 33482.
Photographs by David Sedore. Photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without permission.