Lake Russell, located within the Nature Conservancy’s 12,000 acre Disney Wilderness Preserve, is one of the last remaining undeveloped lakes in central Florida. The lake, connected to Reedy Creek and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, is part of the headwaters to the Everglades. Disney Wilderness Preserve is a central component to the new Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge which the Nature Conservancy is helping create in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Historic Longleaf Pine savanas over low-lying understories of saw palmetto and wiregrass define much of the landscape, maintained my consistent fire management.

Photograph by Carlton Ward Jr / Carlton Ward Photography /