In support of the resource management goals and objectives for the area and to provide a quality experience for all area users, the following recreation activities are allowed.


Hunting is approved only on the Royce Unit. Turkey, small game and dove hunts are generally good on this area. There are now 4 fields open for all dove hunts. In October 2003, one of the best dove hunts in the state occurred on the Royce Unit. Visit the Dove Hunters Hotline web site to find out the latest information on FWC dove fields across the state of Florida.


Hunting Regulations, Map and Hunt Calendar



Fishing is available from the lakeshore on the Lake Placid Scrub tract (largemouth bass, redear sunfish, and bluegill). Fishing license information

Wildlife Viewing

The threatened Florida scrub-jay is relatively common on some of the Lake Wales Ridge Wildlife and Environmental Area sites, including the Lake Placid Scrub tract, Carter Creek tract, and Royce Unit. Look for wading birds along the shores of the lakes and ponds on the Lake Wales Ridge. You may request a copy or download or print the Lake Wales Ridge Birdlist Adobe PDF. Visit the Wildlife page for more information about the area's wildlife.

photo Black Gum Swamp
Brad Kolhoff
Black Gum Swamp

Hiking and Bicycling

Hiking trails are locatied on the Royce Unit, Lake Placid Scrub tract and the Carter Creek tractAdobe PDF. On other sites, hiking is allowed but there are no trails. Bicycling is allowed on all sites but is limited by lack of trails, roads or deep sand. The Royce Unit's firebreaks and named or numbered roads offer the best choice.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is permitted on the Royce Unit, but is prohibited during the general gun and spring turkey seasons. At other times during the year, horseback riding is allowed on the Royce Unit only on firebreaks and named and numbered roads. Horseback riding is also permitted in the western and central areas of the Lake Placid Scrub tract and the Carter Creek tract.  Permits are required for these two tracts and can be obtained at  Children under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet when riding on public lands.  For more detailed information go to Nicole's Law Adobe PDF.  All horseback riders must have proof of current negative Coggins Test results for their horses when on state lands.

FWC Facts:
Spring and summer are the best times to listen for the elusive 5-inch Bachman's sparrow. Their song begins with a loud, clear whistle followed by an extended trill.

Learn More at AskFWC