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Awesome Lake Okeechobee - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Places to Visit

Many of you will have visited the Historic Old Kissimme and marvelled at Lake Okeechobee but I wonder how many of you are aware of its awesome size and history?

Lake Okeechobee was named by the Seminole Indian and it means ' big water' well it certainly is that! This lake holds 1 trillion gallons of water in it encompasses 730 square miles (540 square acres) A trillion is 3 times a million.

The lake was once part of the Atlantic Ocean until the seas receeded around 6000 years ago.

At it' s deepest it is around 12 feet but it averages around 9 feet deep. The colour is not the most attractive and this is largely due to the rich lands that surround it. However, there are seriously concerns about how polluted the lake is as well.

The Colahatchee, New River, Miami and Kissimmee Rivers all flow into this giant lake.

The first inhabitants of the ares surrounding the lake were of course the Native Americans and that would have been somewhere around 1000 years B. C.

The tribes who principally lived round Okeechobee were the Calusans and Tequestans.

Their centuries long communities were shattered when Ponce De Leon landed with the intention of taking slaves and finding gold.

However, when he attempted to take over the tribes land the Calusa people attacked and killed Ponce and killed and injured many of his party.

In times past this lake has often flooded and killed people and damaged lands. However, the U. S. army built a dike in 1928 which is 6 metres high. During this process a canal was formed which at some parts of the lake is separate from the lake and at other parts is not.

Intermittettently over the years they improve these fortifications.

Lake Okeechobee is the 7th largest lake in the United States and the second largest to be entirely contained within a single State.

The floor of the lake is composed of limestone and the top of the water is above sea level.

During the drought of 2007 thousands of lorry loads of toxic waste was removed from the base of the lake and then the following year there was record rainfall which carried pollution from the farmlands into the lake that killed thousands of fish.

At this time the lake level rose by 4 feet.

This lake currently provides most of the water for the surrounding areas but unless they can solve the toxic problems the water will not even be fit for irrigating the land.

The locals call this lake ' The Big O' or simply ' The Lake'

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