Introduction to Lake Apopka

Lakes around Florida have been bringing people to the state before man made attractions over took the market from these natural points of interest that once dominated the tourism industry. Growing up on the Lake County side of Lake Apopka, I grew to appreciate the beauty of the area surrounding Lake Apopka. The nature of the lake has slowly begun to improve with the restoration project, which encompasses all of the north side of the lake, the project is bringing the lake back after years of pesticides leaking into the lake from farms polluting the once renowned fishing spot. Lake Apopka is located in "northeast Orange and southeast Lake Counties, Lake Apopka is the headwaters of the Ocklawaha Chain of Lakes" (St. Johns River Water Management District, 2011), which provides residents and tourist alike hours to explore Florida’s natural waterways. Florida is filled is with a abundance of beautiful springs which is one of the sources that feed the lake along with "rainfall and storm water run off, and the water from Lake Apopka flows through the Apopka-Beauclair Canal and into Lakes Beauclair and Dora, from there Lake Dora, water flows into Lake Eustis, then into Lake Griffin and then northward into the Ocklawaha River, which flows into the St. John's River" (St. Johns River Water Management District, 2011). This shows the relation that the lakes and waterways have to each other all being apart of a large ecosystem that stretches across the state.



(
St. Johns River Water Management District, 2006)

In the 1940s "Lake Apopka was one of central Florida's main points of interest by attracting anglers from throughout the United States to fish for trophy sized bass and to use the 21 fish camps that lined the Lake's shore line" (
St. Johns River Water Management District) with the restoration of the lake there has been an increase of wildlife returning to the once over polluted lake. The decline of the lake's  "hay day" began in the 1890s when construction of the Apopka-Beauclair Canal which lowered the lake levels by a third" (St. Johns River Water Management District, 2011). Like many times where people have tried to alter waterways, the end result caused more damage then intended. With the decreased water in the lake and the contamination from the nearby citrus groves and farms; the lake became known not for it's fishing, but for being the most polluted lake in Florida. However, this issue was realized and steps were made to improve the condition of the lake after "Florida's Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Act in 1987 paved the way for restoration work to begin" (St. Johns River Water Management District, 2011). This has been a long process that recently began to pay off, but overall gets little attention to let people known the improvements to the lake. The restoration began 24 years ago and while still not completely back to it's original condition, there has been significant changes to the lake; like the 19,000 reclaimed acres of marsh, helping make it possible for people to fish again and enjoy Florida's natural habitats. While some might see natural Florida as a hot, barren place without any air conditioning, the peacefulness that comes with being in the quietness of nature brings a natural calm over one that will keep generations coming back for more. The beauty of the hanging cypress tress along the seemingly endless chains of lakes that Lake Apopka connects to, and its surrounded by, brings one back to days gone by and while visiting Orlando is a top priority for tourist today; it is important to know that natural Florida can be relaxing and exciting, just the same.