On this day in 1993, Walker Ranch (8,500 acres of wetlands in Central Florida) officially became Disney Wilderness Preserve. Located about 15 miles south of Disney World, it is today owned and operated by The Nature Conservancy. (Disney provided the property as a trade-off that allowed it to expand on wetlands near its theme parks ... the result being the town of Celebration.)
The Nature Conservancy - a leading conservation organization first founded in 1951 - works around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters, and the Disney Wilderness Preserve is just one example of their dedication. The preserve (now consisting of 12,000 acres) is bounded by Reedy Creek to the east, Lake Hatchineha to the south, and the community of Poinciana to the north and west.
Among the protected species living on property are scrub jays, wood storks and one of the largest concentrations of nesting bald eagles in the Southeast. But this vast preserve also offers pristine plant communities, waterways, and hiking trails. It's a little piece of what Florida once was.
The Disney Wilderness Preserve in Kissimmee, Florida is opened to visitors.
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