Floridian Nature

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Florida Nature: Panacea  & Wakulla County
wakulla county is a beautiful nature spot in north FloridaPanacea is a small unincorporated community in Wakulla County, Florida.  Panacea is an historic fishing and tourist waterfront village located along Dickerson Bay in Wakulla County between the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and Apalachicola National Forest southwest of the state capitol of Tallahassee. The establishment of Panacea began with the Panacea Mineral Springs, a concentration of small sulphurous springs known for their ‘healing attributes’. There were hotels, restaurants, health spas, baths, bottled water for drinking, boardwalks, piers and pavilions over the bay, all oriented around the healing power of the springs and bringing prosperity until the Depression. Most of the development was destroyed by a hurricane in 1928, and the springs property soon fell into neglect. Panacea, Florida offers undisturbed natural coastal beauty at it's finest. Panacea has grown quite a bit over recent years along with most of the State of Florida, but yet still retains that naturalistic beauty so hard to find in a coastal community today.

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is home of one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world. Located in the Florida Panhandle near Tallahassee, Wakulla Spring is a colossal spring system. On average, more than 250 million gallons of water flow from Wakulla Spring every day forming an nine-mile river that reaches the Gulf of Mexico. Wakulla Spring draws its water from a springshed covering hundreds of square miles from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to Georgia.

This park also plays host to an abundance of wildlife, including alligators, turtles, deer, and birds. Daily guided riverboat tours provide a closer view of wildlife, and glass bottom boat tours are offered when the water is clear. Swimming is a popular activity during the hot summer months. A nature trail offers a leisurely walk along the upland wooded areas of the park.



St Mark lighthouse at the St Marks Nature Preserve in Wakulla FloridaSt. Marks National Wildlife Reserve, located just outside of Panacea along the Gulf Coast of Florida, is a well-known oasis of natural Florida habitats for wildlife, especially birds. Natural salt marshes, freshwater swamps, pine forests and lakes provide a haven for wildlife and people. Fishing, hiking, bird watching, butterfly-watching, hunting, and viewing the historic St. Marks lighthouse on beautiful Apalachee Bay attract visitors from around the world. Special events highlighting the refuge's coastal resources, monarch butterflies, wildflowers and migratory birds enhance visitors' opportunities to learn more about this special place.

Established in 1931 for wintering migratory birds, St. Marks National Wildlife Reserve has a long tradition of excellent bird watching. There are over 300 species of birds recorded on the refuge, with 98 species nesting on-site. There are 19 species of ducks and many hawks, falcons, and shorebirds migrating through the refuge in the fall and winter. There are 14 active bald eagle nests and the endangered least tern and red-cockaded woodpecker also nest on the refuge.

In the spring, the refuge is a showcase of colors as songbirds migrate north through coastal oaks and shrubs. Wildlife abounds on St. Marks National Wildlife Reserve due to the wide diversity of habitats, ranging from wilderness saltmarshes, ribboned with tidal creeks, to rolling longleaf pine forests, with swamps, sinkholes, and palm/oak hammocks in between. Located in Wakulla, Jefferson, and Taylor counties, the refuge spans over 43 miles of coastline and supports 52 species of mammals such as the Florida black bear and bobcat; 40 species of amphibians such as the endangered flatwoods salamander, and 65 species of reptiles. Visitors may glimpse endangered loggerhead sea turtles and West Indian manatees offshore by the lighthouse. State-listed threatened and endangered plants are also found on the refuge. St. Marks  location also makes it an ideal host for the natural marvel of the migrating monarch butterflies in October on their way to Mexico! 

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Panacea is an historic fishing and tourist waterfront village located along Dickerson Bay in Wakulla County between the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and Apalachicola National Forest southwest of the state capitol of Tallahassee.Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is home of one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world.
If you are looking for the old time charm of a Florida past, then Panacea and Wakulla County are the place for you. It is as if time stood still here and allowed the beautiful nature of Florida to hold its place in time. St. Marks National Wildlife Reserve, located just outside of Panacea along the Gulf Coast of Florida, is a well-known oasis of natural Florida habitats for wildlife, especially birds. Natural salt marshes, freshwater swamps, pine forests and lakes provide a haven for wildlife and people. Fishing, hiking, bird watching, butterfly-watching, hunting, and viewing the historic St. Marks lighthouse on beautiful Apalachee Bay attract visitors from around the world, including the endangered whooping crane! Special events highlighting the refuge's coastal resources, monarch butterflies, wildflowers and migratory birds enhance visitors' opportunities to learn more about this special place. A quiet unincorporated county, Wakulla and St. Marks are a huge contrast to the glaring commercial theme parks found in the center of the state.
Panacea and Wakulla County
Date published: 10/23/2013
5 / 5 stars