Parks & Wildlife
Ravine Gardens is a representation of the never-ending shaping that occurs by Florida’s water ﬂow. The steep ravine was created by water ﬂowing from beneath the sandy ridges that ﬂank the west shore of the St. Johns River. In 1933, the Federal Works Administration (WPA) created a dramatic garden landscape in the ravine with azaleas and other exotic plantings. The landscape still ﬂourishes as formal gardens with hiking trails. The garden’s peak ﬂowering period is late January to April.
Birders and non-birders alike have been captivated by the ravine as well as the formal and natural gardens. To really appreciate the extraordinary topography, hike or bike the ravine on the extensive trails, or drive or bike around the ravine on the 1.8-mile Ravine Loop Road. Look for migratory songbirds like Cerulean and Chestnut-sided Warblers in the deciduous slope forest in season, as well as resident woodpeckers, hawks and owls. The loop road is closed to vehicular traffic one hour before sunset, but remains open for pedestrians, bicycles and wheelchairs.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds feed in the gardens in spring/summer; Cedar Waxwings flock near the amphitheater in April. On occasion, the pond at the bottom of the ravine has ducks and wading birds; be on the lookout for Wilson’s Snipe and American Woodcock as well. The park’s checklist includes Eastern Screech-Owl, Wood Thrush, Blue Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole and Whip-poor-will. This site gets busy from January to April, when visitors descend on the formal gardens to see the thousands of showy azaleas, Chickasaw plums, dogwoods and camellias in bloom. During these months, the best time to visit is early in the morning and during weekdays.
Recreation facilities include picnic areas, ornamental gardens, numerous hiking trails and a 1.8-mile paved perimeter loop trail that traverses along the upper rim of this 80-acre ravine. A community civic center complex is available for meetings, weddings and special events.
The 59 acre gardens, nature trail, exercise course, and picnic areas. The 1.8 mile road around the ravines can be accessed by car, bike or walking.
1600 Twigg Street, Palatka
Admission is $4.00 (1 person in vehicle), $5.00 (2-8 people in vehicle), $2.00 (1 person walking in park). Children under 6 free. Open Daily - 8:00 a.m. until Sundown
Directions: From the intersection of US 17/SR 100/Reid St. and Moseley Ave. in Palatka, go south on Moseley Ave. for 0.8 mi. Turn left (east) on Twigg St. and drive 0.2 mi. The park entrance (at Ravine Dr.) is on your right.
Nestled between the Ocklawaha and St. Johns Rivers is the Caravelle Ranch Wildlife Management Area, replete with hardwood river swamps, pine flatwoods, hardwood hammocks and improved pastures punctuated with small depression ponds. 24,869 acres of river bottom hardwoods, pasture and pine-palmetto ﬂatwoods with small hammocks intermingled. The site checklist boasts 120 plus species, with everything from waterbirds to raptors to warblers. Some birds of interest include Limpkin, Barn Owl, Hairy Woodpecker, Purple Gallinule, Sandhill Crane, Least Bittern, Eastern Bluebird and Eastern Meadowlark. If your visit falls during a hunting season, between September and March, you are free to drive into the area, where you will likely see sparrows (Chipping, Savannah, Swamp, Song and Bachman’s), Wild Turkey and wading birds. Waterfowl (Hooded Merganser, Ring-necked Duck and Snow Goose) may be present on Rodman Reservoir and the Cross Florida Barge Canal in winter (three access roads are available off CR 310, west of SR 19—Deep Creek, Canal and Horseshoe). From March to August, groups of Swallow-tailed Kites can be found along the slough or over pastures. Stop at the check station or walk-in entrance for a map and bird checklist to best plan your tour (also available from the FWC website). If your visit falls outside of hunting season, use the walk-through entrance to the property 1.7 miles south of the check station entrance (2.8 miles south of the barge canal bridge) on the east side of the road. A series of three hiking trail loops (up to 4.5 miles) leads through a hammock where you can watch for songbird migrants in spring and autumn. You may also enter through the walk-in gate at the main entrance.
There are series of trails that are mixed use and traverse through a variety of ecosystems. Picnic area and wildlife viewing are available. Seasonal use is included for hiking, biking, boating and canoeing. Several equestrian trail areas are available which are accessible at the S.R. 19 entrance.
Hunting season is from September to March. Turkey hunting is excellent, while deer, migratory bird, small game, and wild hog hunting are fair to good. A special opportunity dove hunt is offered on four 50-acre dove ﬁelds. Be aware, trails are closed during hunting season.
Please click here for hunting calendar dates, regulations and more information. For more information, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Northeast Region Ofﬁce, 1239 S.W. 10th St., Ocala, FL. (352) 732-1225.
Directions: Take SR 19 south from Palatka for approx. 10 mi. The main entrance is 1.1 mi. south of the Barge Canal bridge on the left (east) side of the road. If approaching from the south, the main entrance is 12 mi. north of the intersection with CR 314.
Built in 1926, this warm water hatchery is used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to raise fish for stocking programs throughout the southeast. The 41 production ponds where they raise young fish have attracted wading birds for years. However, instead of driving off the birds, the hatchery constructed a viewing tower for birders! Some of the species encountered by birders are Bald Eagle, Osprey, egrets and herons of all types, Anhinga, Double-crested Cormorant, White Ibis, Wood Stork, Belted Kingfisher and Hooded Merganser, to name a few. For a different experience, hike the 0.75-mile nature trail just north of the observation tower for migratory woodland species and Wild Turkey. Scan the wires around the parking area for Eastern Bluebird too. An aquarium showcasing the hatchery program is located on the east side of the road, 2.7 miles north of the observation tower. Hatchery personnel also conduct excellent group tours, where visitors can see birds as well as learn about fish and hatchery operations. Call ahead for details and reservations for your group.
Since 1871, National Fish Hatcheries have been applying science-based approaches to conservation challenges. We work with our partners and engage the public to conserve, restore, and enhance fish and other aquatic resources. Conservation is at the heart of what we do, and we recognize, both the present generation who benefit today and future generations who will inherit our legacy of conserving America’s aquatic resources.
Welaka National Fish Hatchery is charged with producing Atlantic Striped Bass for the St. Johns River in order to maintain the population for ecological, historical and economic purposes. The hatchery also works with Gulf Coast states to produce and protect Gulf of Mexico Striped Bass from Florida to Georgia and Alabama. Recently, the hatchery has begun work with two federally listed species, the federally threatened Eastern Indigo Snake and the federally endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow. The hatchery also receives fledged sparrows and rears them until they are released into the wild.
Guided tours of the hatchery are by appointment only, so please call our office at 386-467-2374 to schedule your tour. Welaka National Fish Hatchery is a great place for school field trips. Public and Homeschool groups are all welcome. Visitor Center hours are Monday – Friday 8am – 3pm. Call 386-467-2374 for more information. 726 CR 309 Welaka, FL.
Directions: From the intersection of SR 20/S. 9th St. and US 17/SR 100/Reid St. in Palatka, take US 17/SR 100/SR 20/Reid St. south for 11.7 mi. to CR 309 in Satsuma. Turn right (southwest) on CR 309 and follow it south for 6 mi. to the aquarium on the left (east) side of the road. The observation tower and production ponds are 2.7 mi. further south on the left (east) side of the road.
A series of foot trails offers the public an opportunity to walk and observe wildlife. While walking the trails of Welaka State Forest, look for woodpeckers, eagles, hawks, wrens, warblers, Osceola turkey, heron, egrets, and owls.
The Sandhill Horse Trail is available for equestrian use, as well as hiking. Welaka State Forest also manages a 72-horse stable, training arenas and horse show arena, which are all available for rental.
Welaka State Forest has 2,288 acres of various ecosystems along the east bank of the St. Johns River. The Division of Forestry maintains the integrity of the natural systems while allowing outdoor recreation use and environmental education, including complete equestrian facilities. Welaka State Forest is located approximately 17 miles south of Palatka on C.R. 309, one mile south of the town of Welaka. For more information, contact the Welaka State Forest at (386) 467-2388.
Visitors to the Welaka National Fish Hatchery should also explore the Welaka State Forest’s trails to bird the wetlands, flatwoods, sandhills, bayheads and hardwood hammocks. From the parking area south of headquarters, a paved Forest Education Trail (ADA accessible) provides a good interpretation of the forest’s habitats and wildlife. The boardwalk also extends out into the floodplain forest of the St. John’s River, which attracts migratory songbirds like Indigo Buntings, Black-throated Green Warblers and Black-and-white Warblers in October and again in April. The John’s Landing Trail leads south for more than 4.5 miles worth of hiking. Expect Wild Turkeys, Northern Bobwhites, mixed flocks of migrating warblers and Florida Sandhill Cranes nesting in the ephemeral wetlands. Bald Eagles nest nearby and frequently fly over the property. The Mud Spring Trail is 1.7 miles long, and its entrance is north of the Forest Education Trail. Although its birding characteristics are good, it is heavily traveled; visit on a weekday morning for the best experience. Pick up a bird list and trail map at the entrance kiosk or at the forest office, as there are 8 miles of hiking trails and 7 miles of horse trails available. This is a remote area, so bring water and prepare for heat and insects in summer.
Welaka State Forest is located approximately 17 miles south of Palatka on C.R. 309, one mile south of the town of Welaka. For more information, contact the Welaka State Forest at (386) 467-2388.
Directions: From the intersection of SR 20/S. 9th St. and US 17/SR 100/Reid St. in Palatka, take US 17/SR 100/SR 20/Reid St. south for 11.7 mi. to CR 309 in Satsuma. Turn right (southwest) on CR 309 and go 6.6 mi. to the state forest office, which is 0.5 mi. south of Welaka on the left (east) side of the road. The Mud Spring Trail access is on the right (west) side of the road, 130 yards north of the office. Go 1 mi. south from the office to reach the Forest Education Trail and the John’s Landing trailhead, on the right (west) side of the road.
Located in Marion, Putnam and Lake Counties, the Ocala National Forest has 382,408 acres that range from dense sand pine-scrub oak communities to wet and dry prairies to longleaf pine-palmetto flatwoods. Camping, dogs and ATVs are allowed.
Small game hunting is good, and deer and turkey hunting is fair to good. Hunters could encounter bears while hunting.
The Salt Springs site in the Ocala National Forest offers a 2-mile loop trail which leads through scrubby flatwoods down to a hardwood forest along the clear, cold, spring run. Enter at the Salt Springs Recreation Area (fee) for quick access to the water, or park and hike the Salt Springs Trail for free at the trailhead located 1.25 miles south of the recreation area and campground. The trail is scrubby, so you’ll get some migrant songbirds in season. At the water’s edge, look for waders and Limpkins. A blue-blazed, 4-mile trail connects the recreation area with the orange-blazed Florida National Scenic Trail, which runs north/south for 66 miles through the Ocala National Forest. You can also paddle the Salt Springs Canoe Trail, which leads from the recreation area to Lake George, the second largest lake in Florida. Anytime you are driving in the national forest, watch for Florida Scrub-Jays perched on the wires when you’re passing their optimum habitat – scrub oak brush about 5 feet tall. Red-cockaded Woodpecker (RCW) trees are marked with white painted bands; clusters occur throughout the forest. For information on specific RCW sites, call the Forest office at (352) 625-2520. Salt Springs is a popular swimming location and gets quite busy, so birding is best in the mornings and on weekdays. Look for Juniper Hairstreak near the spring. Seasonal hunting occurs at this site; see page 127 for dates, regulations and more information.
Directions: To access, travel south on S.R. 19 from Palatka approximately 15 miles. For more information, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Northeast Region Ofﬁce, 1239 S.W. 10th St., Ocala, FL. (352) 732-1225.
Salt Springs is located on SR 19 approx. 0.6 mi. north of the intersection with CR 314 on the northeast side of the Ocala National Forest. The hiking trailhead is 1.25 mi. south of the Salt Springs Recreation Area, on the east side of SR 19.
Visitors to the 8,876-acre Etoniah Creek State Forest/Wildlife Management Area have plenty of ground to cover; one could easily spend all day getting acquainted with this site, as there is so much to see. Twelve miles of multi-use trails are at your disposal, and numerous miles of unpaved forest roads are accessible to most vehicles, although some roads are closed outside of hunting season. One of the area’s most diverse Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail locations in terms of habitat, this site has frontage on a 770-acre lake and protects sandhills, pine flatwoods, scrub, hardwoods, freshwater swamp and freshwater wetlands, plus miles of charming, tannic streams and open fields as well. There are three main access points, described here from west to east. On the 4.75-mile Longleaf Pine Trail (part of the Florida Forest Service’s Trailwalker Program), look for Southeastern American Kestrel, Northern Bobwhite, Pine Warbler, Downy Woodpecker and Northern Flicker. Glimpsing the marvelous patch of Etoniah Rosemary, only found in Putnam County, is your reward for reaching the end of the trail (bring water and your camera). George’s Lake Trail off Tinsley Rd. is a short path leading through bottomland hardwoods (listen for Yellow-throated, White-eyed and Red-eyed Vireos, Red-shouldered Hawk and Carolina Wren) to a lakeside observation deck where wading birds, Fish Crow, Red-winged Blackbird and Bald Eagle may put in an appearance. Explore scrub and flatwoods communities at the Holloway Day Use Area (access fee charged) where you may spy Red-headed Woodpecker and Eastern Towhee. Visitors can either hike or bike along interior forest roads to listen for Bachman’s Sparrow, Brown-headed Nuthatch and Common Yellowthroat. At the picnic area by the first creek crossing, don’t miss the chance to eavesdrop on Hooded Warbler and Northern Parula along the banks.
The forest is home to mammals such as Sherman’s Fox Squirrel, Florida Mouse, Bobcat, Southeastern Pocket Gopher and Gray Fox, and serves as a vital travel corridor for Florida Black Bear. Pig Frog, Bronze Frog, Southern Toad, Six-lined Racerunner, Gopher Tortoise, Little Brown Skink and Black and Eastern Tiger Swallowtails are some of the other wildlife species you may observe. Primitive camping is allowed by permit; listen for the calls of Great Horned Owl and Chuck-wills-widow as you drift off to sleep. Hunting takes place at this site; please call for information on dates, regulations and more. Contact the office for additional information on access via special use permits. Deer, squirrel and turkey hunting are good, while wild hog, migratory bird, and small game hunting is fair.
Camping is authorized only by permit from the Division of Forestry. No dogs or ATVs are permitted. Etoniah Creek State Forest is located in the northwest part of the County off S.R. 100 on Holloway Rd. For more information, contact Etoniah Creek State Forest, 390 Holloway Road, Florahome, FL. (386) 329-2552.
Directions: From US 17 in Palatka, drive northwest on SR 100/Reid St. 12.7 mi. to Holloway Rd. Turn right (north) and proceed 2.5 mi. to the main entrance at Fieldhouse Rd. on the right (east). To reach the other access points, continue north on Holloway Rd. for 1.1 mi. Turn left (west) onto Tinsley Rd. and go 0.6 mi. for the George’s Lake Trail on the right (north side) and 1.9 mi. for the Longleaf Pine Trail on the left (south side). From SR 100 in Florahome, travel north on Coral Farms Rd. for 4.1 mi. to reach Tinsley Rd. or continue east on SR 100 for 2.3 mi. to Holloway Rd.
3,725 acres are part of the American Tree Farm System and a Stewardship Forest under the Florida Forest Service. Adherence to a management regimen which attaches value to not just the pine plantations which provide income but to the whole ecosystem is a hallmark of these programs. They denote land being worked not just as a agricultural enterprise but as a ecological asset to us all. Our commitment to abide by Best Management Practices for the protection of water resources and to adhere also to Wildlife Best Management Practices are just the first steps we take in making sure the wood and fiber produced on our land are not the only benefits arising from it. Between the Ocklawaha and St. Johns Rivers is the Caravelle Ranch Wildlife Management Area, replete with hardwood river swamps, pine flatwoods, hardwood hammocks and improved pastures punctuated with small depression ponds. The site checklist boasts 120 plus species, with everything from waterbirds to raptors to warblers. Some birds of interest include Limpkin, Barn Owl, Hairy Woodpecker, Purple Gallinule, Sandhill Crane, Least Bittern, Eastern Bluebird and Eastern Meadowlark. If your visit falls during a hunting season, between September and March, you are free to drive into the area, where you will likely see sparrows (Chipping, Savannah, Swamp, Song and Bachman’s), Wild Turkey and wading birds. Waterfowl (Hooded Merganser, Ring-necked Duck and Snow Goose) may be present on Rodman Reservoir and the Cross Florida Barge Canal in winter (three access roads are available off CR 310, west of SR 19—Deep Creek, Canal and Horseshoe). From March to August, groups of Swallow-tailed Kites can be found along the slough or over pastures. Stop at the check station or walk-in entrance for a map and bird checklist to best plan your tour (also available from the FWC website). If your visit falls outside of hunting season, use the walk-through entrance to the property 1.7 miles south of the check station entrance (2.8 miles south of the barge canal bridge) on the east side of the road. A series of three hiking trail loops (up to 4.5 miles) leads through a hammock where you can watch for songbird migrants in spring and autumn. You may also enter through the walk-in gate at the main entrance.
Bumping quietly down a dirt road with only the electric motor of the off road golf cart whirring softly and gazing up at the lush pine stands towering overhead, you can begin to imagine how Florida might have looked and felt before the landscape was changed from longleaf pine forests to urban sprawl. We want to introduce you to wild Florida, where Black Bears raise their cubs and White Tailed Deer graze lazily with yearlings in tow. We also want you to understand the relationship our family has with the land. It’s a relationship of give and take, and one of respect. We farm this land but we also work hard to protect it. We are of the mind that you can have your cake and eat it too, if you strike the right balance. You will learn how prescribed fire, long rotation timber management, and longleaf pine restoration can improve habitat and protect water resources for native species.
You’ll have an owner-guided tour of Wetland Preserve, LLC, a 3700-acre American Tree Farm System certified tree farm. Wetland Preserve is located in Putnam County and is adjacent to the 4500-acre Rice Creek Conservation Area and the 1200 acre Nine Mile Swamp Park.
Best tour dates would be early February through early April when thousands of wild azaleas are in bloom! An early morning start (at or just after sunrise) is recommended as that’s when the birds and other wildlife are more active.
Directions: Take SR 19 south from Palatka for approx. 10 mi. The main entrance is 1.1 mi. south of the Barge Canal bridge on the left (east) side of the road. If approaching from the south, the main entrance is 12 mi. north of the intersection with CR 314. Click for Facebook & YouTube.
Crossing Central Florida from the St. Johns River to the Gulf of Mexico, the Cross Florida Greenway is a 110-mile corridor that crosses a variety of natural habitats.
Putnam County is the east trailhead for the Greenway, with several recreation areas including Kenwood and Rodman Recreation Areas, located on Rodman Reservoir, Buckman Lock and the St. Johns Loop Trails.
At the trailhead, south of Palatka, there are a series of trails that include a 4.5-mile hiking trail that meanders through natural woodlands of cypress wetlands and hydric hammocks.
The Putnam County segment of the 1,300-mile footpath for the Florida National Scenic Trail is accessible at the Cross Florida Greenway. The trail runs north to Rice Creek Sanctuary, connects with the Palatka-to-Lake Butler Trail and Etoniah State Forest. For more information, contact Florida Trail Association. (877) HIKE-FLA.
The St. Johns Loop trail has a 2-mile equestrian trail that travels along the south side of the Cross Florida Barge Canal.
Cross Florida Greenway, Kenwood and Rodman Recreation Areas provide observation spots for viewing all types of birds, including limpkin, coot, common gallinule, wood ducks, swallowtail kite, osprey, southern bald eagle, woodpeckers, jays, hawks, ﬂycatchers, wrens, heron, white ibis and a variety of egrets.
Recommended launch area for the Ocklawaha River for boating, kayaking and canoeing is located at Rodman Recreation Dam and pull out is located at the S. R. 19 Bridge.
Camping is available by reservation at Rodman Recreation area. Sites include Recreational vehicle hook-ups, bathrooms and primitive campsites for tents. To reserve a site, call (386) 328-2846.
Directions: The Cross Florida Greenway is located approximately 9 miles south of Palatka on S. R. 19. To get to Rodman Dam, travel south on S. R. 19 to Rodman Recreation Area. Turn right on Rodman Dam Road and follow to the Dam launch.
The Murphy Creek Conservation Area is predominantly hardwood swamps associated with Murphy Creek and the St. Johns River, with the limited uplands containing sandhill, flatwoods and hardwood hammock. The Murphy Creek and Murphy Island parcels that make up this conservation area protect the water resources of both the St. Johns River and Murphy Creek. The island portion contains one of the few upland areas along the St. Johns River, providing visitors an opportunity for a spectacular view of the river.
One of the special highlights of this property is that it is divided by Murphy Creek. Visitors will need a boat to access the island trails, accessible from a dock along the St. Johns River. Recreational activities include Hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, wildlife viewing and nature study. Primitive camping is allowed only at designated sites on the island, no camping on the inland portion. Murphy Island contains a boat landing, more than six miles of hiking trails and wildlife viewing. Bald eagles, gofer tortoises, Virginia opossums, white-tailed deer, bobcats, foxes and numerous waterfowl and wading birds can be found in the wetlands. Boating and canoeing opportunities are available on Murphy Creek and the St. Johns River, and the property is accessible by water; however, there are no launches located on the property.
Directions: The entrance to the conservation area is located off U.S. 17, west on C.R. 309-B. A parking area is approximately one-half mile on the north side of the road.
6,200 acres of Florida wilderness with more than 17 natural communities. These natural communities include sandhills covered with longleaf pines, wiregrass and sand pine scrub. These protect several endangered and threatened species, such as the gopher tortoise, fox squirrels and other native animals. Trails, picnic areas, a small boat ramp, canoe/kayak launch, boardwalks, overlooks and equestrian facilities. Twice annually, the park hosts an open house for visitors which includes a boat tour, trail rides for equestrians, poker run for kayakers and trail rides for cyclists. Visitors can drive or hike down the main park drive, viewing the amazing natural communities and abundant wildlife.
Access to Dunns Creek, an ADA compliant fishing platform and floating canoe launch, restroom facilities and a parking area are located at the end of the main drive.
For more information contact Ravine Gardens State Park at 386-329-3721.
Directions: Take U.S. 17, south, turn left on Sisco Rd. The main entrance is located at 320 Sisco Rd. Pomana Park FL. of Pomona Park. A second entrance to the park, located just off U.S. 17, north of Pomona Park, includes marked trails and a picnic area. The 1.5-mile yellow hiking and bicycling trail takes visitors to the pristine waters of Blue Pond.
Dunns Creek Conservation Area is adjacent to the 6,302-acre Dunns Creek State Park. One of the special highlights of the property is its trails and interior roads that allow visitors to traverse in and out of mesic flatwoods, hammocks, and one portion uses an old logging tram road that goes through the heart of Long Swamp that runs the length of Dunns Creek Conservation Area. In the swamp there are still a couple of large cypress trees the can been seen from the tram indicative of sizes that were logged in the early 1900s.
More than 5 miles of hiking, bicycling and equestrian trails travel through the conservation area, but are restricted during hunting season. Picnic area and primitive camping are available at designated sites. The swamp and upland communities support a variety of animals, including numerous salamander species, toads, frogs, snakes, alligators, bobcats, raccoons, white-tailed deer and gray fox. Birds typically present include migratory and resident species such as yellow-crowned night heron, wood ducks, swallow-tailed kites, red-shouldered hawks, barred owls, woodpeckers and warblers. For more information, contact the St. Johns River Water Management District’s Bureau of Land Management at 386-329-4404.
Directions: Travel south from Palatka on U.S. 17 and turn east on S.R. 100. Go approximately three miles to Tram Road. Take Tram Road about one-half mile to the entrance
Rice Creek Swamp covers approximately 70 percent of this property. Together with Palmetto Branch, Oldtown Branch and Hickory Branch, which are all just west of the conservation area, the swamp forms the headwaters of Rice Creek, a large tributary of the St. Johns River. The area was an indigo and rice plantation during the 18th century, and most of the uplands were managed as commercial pine plantations before brought into public ownership. The site protects a variety of natural communities, including floodplain swamp, flatwoods, dome swamp, floodplain forest and upland mixed forest. The area is also a key parcel for connecting Etoniah State Forest to the Cross Florida Greenway.
One of the special highlights of this property is an historic levee built for an 18th century rice plantation that will take visitors along a walk into the heart of the swamp to view the seventh largest cypress tree in Florida. A portion of the Florida National Scenic Trail also traverses through the property. This portion of the trail includes Hoffman Crossing, an 1,886-foot narrow boardwalk that puts the hiker in the heart of the Rice Creek Swamp.
Recreational activities include hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and primitive camping.
Directions: Travel west from Palatka on SR 100, parking will be on the left.
The Lake George Conservation Area protects more than half of the eastern shore of Lake George and its associated watershed that flows into the lake. Adjacent to property purchased in partnership with Volusia County, the conservation area also protects a wildlife corridor of more than 20 miles along Lake George and the St. Johns River.
The 35,380 acres is primarily composed of mixed hardwood swamp and pine flatwoods and is included in the wildlife management area managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, enhancing wetlands and upland habitats.
More than 10 miles of horse trails traverse through this conservation area. Camping is allowed with a permit. No ATV’s allowed. Trail use is limited during hunting season.
One of the special highlights of this property is its high concentration of eagles’ nests. When it was purchased, this area boasted the highest concentration of bald eagles outside of Alaska. Eagles made their nests primarily in large old pine trees that resided as single trees in the wetlands throughout the property. They are now nesting in trees that were planted outside the wetlands. For more information, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Northeast Region Ofﬁce, 352-732-1225.
Directions: From U.S. 17 S, turn west on Georgetown-Denver Road, west of Crescent City.