Lake Monroe Wildlife Management Area
Managed in cooperation with the St. Johns River Water Management District.
The Lake Monroe Wildlife Management Area (WMA) spans 3,098 acres in Volusia County. The WMA is located along the southeastern shore of 9,406-acre Lake Monroe, five miles northeast of the City of Sanford. The WMA lies within the Lake Monroe Conservation Area, which is managed by the SJRWMD. Lake Monroe is a shallow, wide area of the north-flowing St. Johns River. Management of the natural communities within this area helps to improve water quality, increase flood protection, preserve and restore diverse plant and animal communities and provide resource-based recreational opportunities that are in high demand in the region.
The WMA property was acquired by the state in 1987 and opened to public hunting for the first time during the 2009-2010 hunting season. Prior to 1987, the WMA property was a part of the Osteen Ranch and was managed for cattle production. The previous owners cleared portions of the native vegetation and planted pasture grasses suitable for grazing. The property is predominantly floodplain marsh along the river, with hydric hammock, basin swamp and upland mixed forests of oaks, palms, cedar and pine at higher elevations. The SJRWMD manages the property using a combination of groundcover restoration, reforestation and controlled burns. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission administers hunting related activities. Wildlife includes deer, turkey, numerous species of resident and migratory songbirds and turtles and wading birds along the river. Bald eagles are known to nest on the property. An endangered plant - Rugel's false paw paw - occurs here.
The WMA is open year-round. Along Reed Ellis Road, north of the intersection with CR 415, there are three access points to the WMA. Visitors will find a loop trail leading off of the second parking area. The trail is suitable for hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and wildlife viewing. Camping is not allowed and vehicles are restricted to the parking areas. Hunting equipment and dogs may be taken onto the area after 8 a.m. the day before the opening of a season and should be off of the area by 6 p.m. one day after the end of the season. The September through April hunting season includes opportunities for archery, muzzleloading gun, general gun, small game and spring turkey. Quota permits are not required. Check the list below for more detailed information about hunting seasons. There are no boat launch facilities in the WMA.
Rules Regarding Dogs
- For purposes other than hunting, dogs are allowed, 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. 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 with dogs is prohibited, except bird dogs and retrievers may be used during small game and migratory game bird seasons. Dogs are prohibited in areas posted as "Closed to Public Access" by FWC administrative action. 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.
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: (352) 732-1225, Recreation.
- St. Johns River Water Management District: (386) 329-4404.
- Visit the St. Johns River Water Management District web site for Lake Monroe Conservation Area.
- View FWC's Regulations Summary for Lake Monroe Wildlife Management Area for an area map, hunting seasons, permits, fees and area regulations.