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Picayune Strand Wildlife Management Area

Managed in cooperation with:

Florida Forest Service
South Florida Water Management District

Picayune Strand WMA consists of more than 74,000 acres in Collier County two miles east of Naples, south of I-75 and north of U.S. 41. The WMA is a mosaic of pine flatwoods, cypress, marshes, wet prairies and subtropical hardwood hammocks. These landscapes provide habitats for wide-ranging Florida panthers, as well as black bearsbald eagleswood storksfox squirrelsswallow-tailed kitesgopher tortoises and red-cockaded woodpeckers.

Add your bird observations to the Picayune Strand State Forest eBird Hotspot.

Sandy Path Leads into Picayune Strand

Picayune Strand WMA was logged for cypress and pines in the 1940s and 1950s. Historically, the wetlands of this WMA helped to regulate freshwater as it flowed south into estuaries, including Faka-Union Bay and Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. However, once logging was completed, the area was ditched and roads were constructed for South Golden Gate Estates, a famous "swampland in Florida" scam. In 1985 under the Save Our Everglades program, the state began acquiring this land from thousands of absentee landowners. The area was officially named Picayune Strand State Forest in May of 1995. In 2007 the Picayune Strand Restoration Project (PSRP) began to restore the natural hydrology of the forest, which is a part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).                                     

Pine Lily

Hunting is available on the area. For hunting regulations, see FWC's regulations summary brochure.

The Sabal Palm Hiking Trail, jointly owned by Collier County, consists of two short loops (1.9 and 1.3 miles) and traverses a dwarf cypress forest. The trail can be accessed from Sabal Palm Road.

A 22-mile horse trail winds across the Belle Meade Tract from Miller Boulevard to Benfield Road. Children under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet when horseback riding on public lands. For more detailed information, see Nicole's Law. All horseback riders must have proof of current negative Coggins Test results for their horses when on state lands. An oak-shaded primitive camping area can be found near the mid-point of the trail. A campground is located on 52nd Ave SE near the Florida Forest Service Office. Camping is allowed by special-use permit from the Florida Forest Service.

The numerous canals on the area are available for fishing and small boats. A boat ramp is located on the Faka-Union Canal. Parts of the area will be closed at varying times due to Picayune Strand Restoration Project construction.

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.
  • For regulations regarding hunting dogs, see FWC's regulations summary brochure.

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