Blackwater Wildlife Management Area

Managed in cooperation with
Florida Forest Service

 

photo pitcher plants
Betsy Purdum

Blackwater WMA, the Blackwater Carr Unit, and Blackwater Hutton Unit, are comprised of more than 200,000 acres in Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties and is one of the largest state forests in Florida. The forest's natural stands of longleaf pine are among the best remaining examples of the longleaf pine/wiregrass ecosystem that once covered much of the southeastern United States. Other natural communities found on the area include hardwood swamps, mixed loblolly pine and hardwoods, and pitcher plant bogs. Some of the most beautiful stands of Atlantic white cedar in the state are found along the banks of the Blackwater River and its tributaries. The forest is critical habitat for many listed plants and animals, including the red-cockaded woodpecker, the pine barrens treefrog, the gopher tortoise, and the panhandle lily. Blackwater's outstanding forest and water resources offer excellent opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking, biking, camping, swimming, horseback riding, and paddling.  Children under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet when horseback riding on public lands.  For more detailed information go to Nicole's Law PDF.  All horseback riders must have proof of current negative Coggins Test results for their horses when on state lands. A portion of the Florida National Scenic Trail traverses the area and is open to hikers year round.

Rules Regarding Dogs

  • For purposes other than hunting, dogs are allowed (except in the Field Trial Area), but must be kept under physical restraint at all times. Dogs are prohibited in areas posted as "Closed to Public Access" by FWC administrative action. Dogs are prohibited in areas posted as "CLOSED TO PETS." No person shall allow any dog to pursue or molest any wildlife during any period in which the taking of wildlife by the use of dogs is prohibited.
  • Hunting dogs may be taken onto the WMA after 8 a.m. the day before the opening of a season and shall be removed by 6 p.m. one day after the end of the season. Hunting deer with dogs is allowed in the dog hunt area during the general gun dog season only. Hunting with dogs, other than bird dogs or retrievers, is prohibited in the still hunt area and during general gun still and family hunt seasons in the dog hunt area; however, dogs with a shoulder height of 15 inches or less may be used to take small game during small game seasons in both the still and dog hunt areas. Bird dogs may be trained throughout the year except during the spring turkey season and in the Field Trial and Quail Enhancement Areas. Bird dogs may be trained in the Quail Enhancement Area only during the bird dog training season (November 1 through December 31); a general gun quota permit is required if training during the general gun quota period. Dogs are prohibited in the Field Trial Area, except as specifically authorized by permit, or during the bird dog training (October 1-15 and November 14-30), dove or quail hunting seasons. No person shall allow any dog to pursue or molest any wildlife during any period in which the taking of wildlife by the use of dogs is prohibited.  No person shall allow any dog to pursue or molest any wildlife during any period in which the taking of wildlife by the use of dogs is prohibited. Dogs on leashes may be used for trailing wounded game. Dogs are prohibited in areas posted as "CLOSED TO PETS."Dogs are prohibited in areas posted as "Closed to Public Access" by FWC administrative action or which are posted as "CLOSED TO PETS."



FWC Facts:
Whooping cranes mate for life, but they will take a new mate after the loss of the original. The pair will return to use and defend the same nesting and wintering territory year after year.

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