Jim Pederson and daughter Lisa walk the mesic hammock edging the acres of longleaf pine that comprise the preserve.

In 2010, the Green Horizon Land Trust received a 40 acre land donation of upland forest on the Lake Wales Ridge from the Jim Pedersen family. The property is located on Lake Annie off Scenic Highway 17 inside the south city limits of Dundee. It was named the Barbara B. Pedersen Wildlife Preserve after Pedersen’s mother.

"This remnant of the ancient long leaf pine forest that once existed along the entire length of the Lake Wales Ridge was valued at $1,465,000," said Lou Parrott, past Executive Director of GHLT.

This property on Lake Annie gives public access to Florida's natural heritage, from lakes to groves.

The property is a heavily wooded urban upland ridge site with five acres of orange grove and approximately 35 acres of longleaf pine in a mesic hammock. It has 1336 feet on the Scenic Highway 17 and 476 feet on Lake Annie. The pines are a remnant of ancient longleaf pines that grew on the uplands in Central Florida known as the “Ridge.”

Love for the Land

The site has been maintained in its natural state since purchase by Pedersen’s father and mother in 1940, when they built the family home. It's is home to endangered plants, gopher tortoises, turkey, horned owls, bobcat, raccoon, and coyotes. Bald Eagles and occasionally deer have been seen on the site.

This extraordinary donation to Green Horizon Land Trust reflects the love that Pedersen and his family have for the land in protecting it from development for more than 69 years. “I grew up on this property and wanted it always to remain in a natural state so that others may enjoy it as much as I did.” Pedersen said. "I went to college for a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology/ecology due in large part to my love of this land. I gave it to Green Horizon Land Trust to ensure the tradition begun by my mother of maintaining it as a wildlife preserve, can now be enjoyed by the public forever.”

Click on the image for a large view of the property and trails.

The Preserve opened to the public with a grand opening hosted hike on December 15, 2012. The site is easily accessible for passive recreation and will become a natural jewel in a sea of future development along the Scenic Highway. There is only one other such site on the Scenic Highway; Hickory Lake, located south of Frostproof, also a Green Horizon acquisition, now owned and managed by Polk County.

Stewardship and Restoration

trees damaged by the 2004 hurricanes

Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne passed through the hammock in 2004 reducing tree cover and killing many of the longleaf pines. Although a number of pines and many of the large oaks survived, the storms opened up the hammock to more exotic species and heavier vine cover. The challenge for Green Horizon was to seek contributions to remove these offending species, restore areas with longleaf pine, and open the preserve for passive recreation and environmental education.

Green Horizon received a $12,000 grant from the Elizabeth Ordway Dunn Foundation to begin restoring the site. Thanks to our generous donors (individuals and members) and partners (Town of Dundee, Ridge Rangers, Mosaic, Friends of the Parks - Trek Ten Trails), the additional resources needed to complete the work were obtained!

These contributions have been used to:

  • Cut two nature trails through the forest to Lake Annie.
  • Place picnic tables and benches for the enjoyment of the public.
  • Remove debris and invasive exotic plants, and clear under brush.
  • Begin longleaf pine restoration plan. (Additional funding and volunteers needed for this restoration project.)
  • Install an informational marker near the entrance. The sign features the history of the site as well as a map of the trails.
  • Fence portions of the Preserve for privacy and public safety.

All tax deductible donations, large or small, were used entirely for the development of this project. See how you can help Green Horizon make a difference through your tax deductible donation.