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Apalachee - History

Junction of 3 Rivers
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

Between 1825 and 1838, a portion of the Econchatimicos Indian Reservation was located on what is now Zone A. The reservation was home to the Tocktoethla, a small band of Indians led by Creek/Seminole Chief Econochatimico. Following the terms of a treaty signed in 1833, the band relocated to Oklahoma. Today, descendants of the band live near Muskogee, Oklahoma. The waters of Lake Seminole now inundate most of what was reservation land. From the mid 19th century to 1955, most of the WMA uplands were converted to family homesteads used for farming and cattle grazing.

Jim Woodruff dam and lock
Jim Woodruff dam and lock, 1958. State Archives of Florida.

This area was established as a wildlife management area (WMA) in 1955 when over 5,000 acres were leased to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), then the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This followed the 1952 completion of the Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam below the confluence of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers. The dam created the reservoir known as Lake Seminole. The Apalachicola River begins below the dam and flows over 100 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.

Approximately 255 acres were added to the WMA parcel between 1955 and 1985. A separate unit of 2,669 acres of bottomland hardwoods was added in 1987. This unit, identified today as Zones B and C, is located 10 miles north of the original parcel. It lies between Highway 271 (River Road) and the Chattahoochee River, and is accessible only on foot or by boat. The addition of this tract significantly increased the recreation potential of Apalachee WMA, as it provides a unique hunting experience for those desiring a more secluded area.