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Fishing at sunsetCitrus County Florida strikes a good balance between natural preservation and sportsman's paradise. With over 40% of the land in Citrus County designated as public land it cannot be touched by development.

kayak fishermanSome of the attractions include the Crystal River Archaeological State Park, Withlacoochee State Forest, Citrus County's 18 Birding Trails, Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, The Homosassa State Wildlife Park, and the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge to name just a few.

The Crystal River Archaeological State Park displays artifacts that indicate the Crystal River area was inhabited by humans as far back as 14,000 years ago. Right here is Crystal River there is a 14 acre six mound complex that is one of the most imposing prehistoric ceremonial centers on Florida's west coast.

gray foxThe Withlacoochee State Forest occupies 157,479 acres in Citrus, Pasco, Hernando, Sumter Counties and is currently the third largest state forest in Florida. Divided into several distinct tracts of land and using sound ecosystem management, the Division of Forestry provides for multiple-use of the forest resources which includes timber management, wildlife management, ecological restoration, and outdoor recreation.

sailboat dockedCitrus County's 18 Birding Trails are part of the West Section of the Great Florida Birding Trail. Citrus County provides a unique topography for all birders. The eighteen birding trails created for the Great Florida Birding Trail program take into account these unique features that make Citrus County and its habitat for birds a special place. The county trail system is divided into the three natural ecological characterizations that make up the geology of the county. (1) The Coastal Region from the Gulf of Mexico East to U.S. 19. (2) The Brooksville Ridge Region from U.S. 19 East to U.S. 41. And (3) the Tsala Apopka Lake Region bounded on the East by the Withlacoochee River.

Osprey eating fishFormaly known as the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge Complex it consists of Crystal River, Chassahowitzka, Egmont Key, Passage Key and the Pinellas National Wildlife Refuges. The goal here is to promoting the preservation of the natural and historical resources of the Refuges, foster their use and enjoyment by the public consistent with the protection and preservation of the environment, and engage in such educational, scientific and civic activities to assist the Refuges.

The Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge is also winter home to a migratory flock of whooping cranes. The whooping crane is North America's tallest bird, up to five feet tall and has a seven-foot wing span. Whooping cranes are an endangered species protected by federal law.

There are only three wild flocks of whooping cranes in North America, all managed by International Treaty. The three flocks of whooping cranes include: Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, a non–migratory flock introduced in 1993 in Kissimmee Florida lake region, and Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge here in Citrus County Florida.

diver with manateeThe Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a showcase for Florida Wildlife It offers visitors an excellent opportunity to observe native animals, birds and plants in their natural setting. Walk along a naturally beautiful boardwalk and view many Florida species such as cougars, bear, white-tailed deer, bobcats, otters and fox. But it is the West Indian Manatee that often steals the show.

The Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park is home to a herd of Florida Manatees. In the cooler winter months the Citrus County Manatees are attracted to the warm spring-fed waters that maintain a year round temperature of 72 degrees. People trek from all over the world to come here for a manatee tour and observe or even swim with the manatees. The Wildlife Park even has a "fishbowl" that you walk down inside of and observe the manatees as they swim all around you. There are also many local dive shops nearby that offer manatee tours, snorkel with the manatees, and boat rentals for guided eco-tours.

sunsetThe Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge occupies 80 acres off the coast of Crystal River and is accessible only by boat. The refuge is comprised of 20 islands and several small parcels of land surrounded by the crystal clear, spring fed waters of Kings Bay. The refuge aids in preserving Florida's most significant naturally occurring warm water refuge for the manatee and provides critical habitat for approximately 25 percent of the nation's endangered Florida manatee population. Six hundred million gallons of fresh water flow daily from more than 30 natural springs. The temperature of the water flowing from the springs remains a constant 72° F.

Other areas of interest include the Fort Island Trail Beach in Crystal River. The Rainbow River is also a popular destination for water activities. This spring-fed river is crystal clear and full of life. You can rent inner tubes, kayaks, and canoes or just bring your own.

rivers fallsThere is the Withlacoochee River, which forms part of the north eastern border of Citrus County and helps refresh the Tsala Apopka chain of lakes. The 45 mile long Withlacoochee River is one of the few rivers in the world that flows North. The Withlacoochee River also has many recreational opportunities including a 23,000 acre bass rich playground for fishermen and a densely populated wetland. This wetland is home to many birds and mammals that are considered rare in the rest of America.

The majority of the lakes in Citrus County are situated on the eastern side of the county and include Big Lake Henderson, Little Lake Henderson, Lake Tsala Apopka, Lake Hernando, Lake Rousseau, and Lake Holathlikaha. The lakes offer freshwater fishing opportunities as well as recreational boating and even a newly created annual speedboat race.