The Lake Wales Ridge rose from ancient beach and dune systems that have stood above sea level for over a million years. The long, narrow ridge was uplifted about 300 feet above sea level and is one of the oldest natural scrub communities in Florida. Scientists say that the ridge rose during the Pleistocene epoch, which means the beginning of time.
Over the thousands of years, rising and receding seas exposed and covered much of the Florida Peninsula. Due to glacial stages, polar ice caps melted, waters rose, and a series of ridges stood as islands in a vast ocean that covered most of Florida. The ridges were formed as coastal ridges when the seas were higher. They are now collectively called “Florida’s Ancient Islands”. The Lake Wales Ridge remains the largest of these ridges.