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Cypress Lake, a 4097 acre expanse in Osceola County, is a prime vacation destination in central Florida.One of the lakes on the Kissimmee Waterway, Boat travelers can enjoy 56 miles of water, including Cypress Lake. Northernmost Lake Tohopekaliga and southernmost Lake Okeechobee connect the many lakes along the Kissimmee River through the use of canals and locks. Lakes in the chain are shallow, often between only six and 13 feet in depth.
Prior to 1962, the Kissimmee River meandered over 103 miles that supported a rich ecosystem of fish and wildlife along floodplain wetlands. In an effort to control periodic river flooding, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers transformed the river into a straighter, 56-mile channel between 1962 and 1971. Although the channelization project achieved its flood protection goal, most of the wetlands wildlife habitat was eliminated. About 90 percent of the wading bird and wintering waterfowl populations disappeared.
In order to restore the delicate wetlands ecosystem, the Kissimmee River Restoration project is currently underway with a scheduled completion date of 2010. Jointly managed by the Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District, the project will restore about 43 miles of the river's historic channel along the canal's midsection. The goal is to restore more than 300 species of fish and wildlife to the wetland-rich floodplain. The upper and lower portions of the canal will remain intact to preserve flood protection.
Cypress Lake is close to Kissimmee, Orlando, and all the Disney attractions, but far enough to reintroduce you to nature. A trip to Cypress Lake is more an exercise in relaxation than one of days jam-packed with activity. Central Florida's diverse wildlife is an outdoor playground, sure to impress the entire family. In addition to simply enjoying the beautiful flora and fauna, wildlife photographers flock to the area in hopes of that special shot. Wintering waterfowl choose the greater Cypress Lake area for their warm-weather hideout, bald eagles swoop through the air, red-shouldered hawks make the occasional graceful entrance, and beautiful herons have been known to make an appearance.
Water sports are an always-favorite at Cypress Lake, with airboat rides taking the prize for one of the most enjoyable. Half boat, half magic carpet ride, an airboat tour will take you on a unique tour of the lake's diverse ecosystem, some even traveling into the nearby marshes to give you an up-front view of some of the fabulous wildlife.
Cypress Lake is well-known for its superb fishing opportunities. Black crappie, bluegill, and largemouth bass are what you'll likely find lurking beneath the lake's waters, and a trip to the lake is hardly complete without putting in a day's fishing. Rent a boat or bring your own, drop your line in, and sit back and wait for your next big trophy catch. And while you wait, the sun on your face and a warm breeze in your hair will help you to relax and truly understand what "getting away from it all" really means.
After a day of fishing, boating, or just playing in the water, enjoy a sumptuous meal or glass of wine as you watch the sun go down over the lake's still waters. Cypress Lake is locally famous for its fiery orange sunsets, deeply colorful and one of the most spectacular you'll ever see.
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