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.