What are Wildlife Management Areas?
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission oversees more than 6 million acres of public land established as Wildlife Management Areas. These lands are managed to protect fish and wildlife resources and provide wildlife-based recreation. WMAs are more rugged than parks and have fewer developed amenities.
Why are WMAs important?
The high-quality habitats found on Florida’s WMAs ensure abundant wildlife, help protect water sources that supply drinking water for the state’s growing population and create outstanding places to enjoy outdoor recreation. These areas are managed by teams of biologists and technicians using various techniques including prescribed burns, controlling nonnative invasive species and monitoring wildlife.
Who uses WMAs?
Due to excellent wildlife and habitat management, WMAs are enjoyed by many of Florida’s anglers, hunters, wildlife viewers and boaters. These interests alone support more than 425,000 jobs in Florida and have an economic impact of $58.6 billion.
Bicyclists, horseback riders, paddlers, photographers and other outdoor enthusiasts also enjoy these wild lands.
Lead WMAs and Co-op WMAs
FWC is the landowner or main managing agency on 50 lead WMAs that span from Florida Keys WEA to Escribano Point WMA in Santa Rosa County.
The FWC works in partnership with other governmental or private landowners on over 100 co-op WMAs.
Wildlife and Environmental Areas
Wildlife and Environmental Areas are part of the WMA system. Many of these areas were acquired through FWC’s Mitigation Park Program, which was established for the protection for rare species impacted by development.