14020 Hwy. 60 E.
SUMICA, east of Lake Wales, is the largest of Polk County’s Environmental Lands and it’s an excellent place to take nature pictures or to ride your bike. Boasting an expanse of pine flatwoods, the land also supports a diversity of marshes and a picturesque oak hammock. If you climb up to the former railroad bed that runs through the SUMICA property, and rises six feet above the landscape, you’ll have a great shaded vantage point of the countryside. This 4,031-acre tract sits on the shore of Lake Weohyakapka.
Why is the name “SUMICA” in capital letters? It stands for Societe Universelle Mining Industrie, Commerce et Agriculture, a French company that had timber rights to the land. The town of SUMICA, established in 1917, thrived on lumbering and turpentine. After the pines were harvested, the town vanished in 1927, and its remnants now comprise a modern-day ghost town. A former Seaboard Air Line Railway bed runs through the property. Polk County and the South Florida Water Management District acquired this property in February 1999 to preserve its important ecological resources and its cultural history. SUMICA is home to at least 12 species of rare plants and animals.
In addition to hiking and biking, there’s a horseback riding trail and a primitive camping site. There also are restrooms, picnic tables and picnic shelters.