Red Hills Region
The Red Hills or Tallahassee Hills region covers parts of Gadsden, Leon, and Jefferson counties in Florida, and Grady and Thomas counties in Georgia. It is bounded on the west by the Apalachicola River, on the south by the Cody Scarp, on the east by the watershed of the Aucilla River, and on the north by the Tifton Upland of Georgia. The Cody Scarp drops about 100 feet (30 m) from the Red Hills or Tallahassee Hills to the Gulf Coastal Lowlands to the south.
The area was first settled by paleo-indians in and around the various lakes in the southern part of the Red Hills. Apalachee indians were found here in the 16th century. The Apalachee were almost annihilated through wars, disease, and slavery. In the 18th century, the Seminoles made the Red Hills their home until the early 19th century and the Seminole Wars.
Also in the 19th century, white settlers began cotton plantations, which thrived until the Civil War. At one time, Leon County, Florida, was the 5th largest producer of cotton among all counties in Georgia and Florida. After the Civil War, many of the Red Hills' plantations became winter homes and quail hunting plantations for wealthy northerners; the area between Thomasville and Tallahassee is still home to dozens of such plantations, such as Greenwood, Pebble Hill, and Goodwood.
Rolling hills, ravines and gullies covered by forests and the large lakes of Lake Jackson, Lake Iamonia, Lake Miccosukee, Lake Lafayette, and Lake Talquin. The highest point in the Red Hills is 280 feet (85.3m) north of Tallahassee by 10 miles. The soil is red clay deposited during the last ice age from the Appalachian Mountains. Rivers running through the Red Hills Region are the Aucilla River, Ochlockonee River, and Telogia Creek. The St. Marks River is subterranean until it meets the surface in the Woodville Karst Plain.
Flora and fauna
The area is covered in a number of native species. There are a variety of oak including Southern live oak, water oak, laurel oak, white oak, overcup oak, post oak, black oak as well as other hardwood trees such as American sweetgum, a variety of magnolia, as well as hickory, flowering dogwood, red maple, and redbud. Conifers are also abundant, including shortleaf pine, loblolly pine. The Red Hills are home to some of the last remnants of the great longleaf pine forests remaining in the nation.
The Red Hills Region supports Northern Bobwhite Quail, White-tailed Deer, Red Fox, raccoon, Eastern Grey Squirrel, Nine-banded Armadillo, Black Bear, migratory birds, the federally endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker, the gopher tortoise, the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, the Eastern Tiger Salamander, and many other animals and plants.
The Red Hills Region serves as one of the highest recharge areas for the Floridan Aquifer — which is critical to the drinking water supply for residents of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. The Red Hills Region also has the largest concentration of undeveloped plantation lands in the United States. The Red Hills has been identified for special conservation efforts and the Nature Conservancy has designated the Red Hills as one of America's "Last Great Places."
Each Spring, the equestrian community meets for the Red Hills Horse Trials, an Olympics qualifying event held at Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park and land owned by Tallahassee ecologist and horse enthusiast Colin Phipps (Ayavalla Plantation).
- "Geomorphic Tour". Florida Natural Areas Inventory. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- "Georgia Ecoregions". Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- Griffith, G. E., J. M. Omernik, J. A. Comstock, S. Lawrence, T. foster. "Level III and IV Ecoregions of Georgia". Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
- Arny, Nancy P. (June 1996). "Common Oaks of Florida" (PDF). University of Florida. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- Oxford Journals: Stand structures on quail plantations