Silver Springs Forest Wildlife Management Area
Managed in cooperation with the St. Johns River Water Management District.
The 4,900-acre Silver Springs Forest Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is located in Marion County just minutes away from Ocala, Florida. The area was purchased in 2015 to protect water resources and natural areas close to Silver Springs. The headwaters of Half Mile Creek originate on the WMA and flow to the Silver River, while No Name Creek flows east off the property to the Ocklawaha River. Both offer beautiful examples of bottomland hardwood forests.
The St. Johns River Water Management District has redesigned several of the culvert crossings on Half Mile and No Name Creeks and installed water control structures to promote a healthy flow of water as the creeks make their way to the rivers. Management practices such as controlled burning and timber harvests help keep this area healthy for wildlife.
Silver Springs Forest has a long history of hunting and now offers high quality hunting opportunities to the public. The quota deer and turkey hunts in the fall and spring are a big draw for hunters from across the state because of the abundant white-tailed deer and Osceola turkeys found on the WMA.
For area hunting seasons and regulations, see the Silver Springs Forest WMA regulations brochure.
Fishing is allowed on the area year-round. A Florida fishing license is required and can be purchased at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.
Horseback riding, hiking and biking are very popular year-round on the more than 10 miles of trails found on this area. For a trail guide, visit the St. Johns Water Management District's web page for Silver Springs Forest Conservation Area.
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.
Visitors often see red-tailed hawks and barred owls on the area, and alligators can be found basking near the water control structures. Various frogs and snakes are common as well. Maintaining habitat for wildlife is a key consideration whenever land management decisions are made on Silver Springs Forest 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.
For regulations regarding hunting dogs, see FWC's regulations brochure.