Silver Lake Preserve, owned and operated by Lykes Bros. Inc., lies on the outskirts of the town of LaBelle, in central Florida's Glades County. Before arrival of permanent settlers in the late 1800s, the region was originally populated by the Caloosa Native Americans, who gathered for religious ceremonies under the oak hammocks on the shore of the nearby Caloosahatchee River. In 1896, Capt. Francis Asbury Hendry named the area for his daughters Laura and Belle: LaBelle ("the beautiful" in French).
The Lykes Brothers story began more than 100 years ago with Dr. Howell Tyson Lykes. Leaving a career in medicine, Dr. Lykes began raising cattle and citrus at the family homestead in rural Hernando County. By the turn of the century, Dr. Lykes had moved his family and business activities to Tampa and was shipping cattle to Cuba aboard a three-masted wooden schooner. One by one, each of Dr. Lykes's seven sons joined the family business. Working together they expanded and diversified, incorporating their business as Lykes Bros. Inc. in 1910. Descendants of Dr. Lykes have retained ownership of Lykes Bros. and continue to build on the solid foundation laid by the doctor and his seven sons.
Lykes employs multiple land-use practices to make the most efficient, economical and appropriate use of the many different land types on the ranch. Higher-income crops such as sugar cane are planted on the richest soils, while the plantation forests, grazing pastures, and wildlife management operations comprise other acreage. Stewardship is an important component of Lykes' management philosophy. The success of these practices can be seen by the diverse wildlife found on the ranch. Game animals such as wild hogs, quail, and turkey populate much of the property.
Silver Lake Preserve is a pristine 1,876 acre tract of land which served for generations as the Lykes family private quail hunting grounds. Today, guided hunts are conducted with efficient professionalism, offering a truly pleasurable experience for those who wish to enjoy the natural beauty of the Florida landscape.