Most recent updates:
9/21/17 updated state parks, state forests, national parks, FWC. County information for Lee.
While almost all state forests have reopened, most of their campgrounds remain closed. Call ahead to check. South Florida Water Management District opened most of their lands today. St. Johns Water Management District has opened a limited number of public lands. See this list.
9/19/17 updated state parks, there is now a mix of open and closed parks throughout Central and North Florida. To see the OPEN list visit this webpage at Florida State Parks and scroll to the bottom.
9/18/17 (added WMAs and WEAs)
As we were waiting for our own power to come back on after Hurricane Irma tore across the Florida peninsula, the emails kept coming in. Press releases from state and federal agencies outlined what public lands in Florida were closed and would not reopen soon. Some pointed to websites we couldn’t navigate through from a smartphone, others just provided information. Now that we have power and internet back at home, we thought it would be useful for our readers to compile a comprehensive roundup of all known public lands closures in one place. We’ve checked on federal and state agencies as well as county parks and recreation and natural lands. If you know of more public land closures, especially long-term closures due to hurricane damage, please add them in the comments below.
We will keep this page updated as we learn of additional assessments, closures, and openings. For those Florida State Forests with campgrounds that are listed as closed, they are set to reopen by September 21 unless damage is too great. Some public lands, such as those in the Florida Keys, will be closed for months.
Keep in mind that a piece of public land may reopen before access is available to roads and trails on it.
Volunteer section leaders are making damage assessments. Initial reports are of downed trees, as would be expected after such high winds, and extremely high water in places like the Green Swamp. The trail was not affected west of the Apalachicola River. Please watch the Florida Trail Association website for announcements of when volunteer work parties will be assembled starting October 2017 to work on removal of hurricane debris. Currently many sections of the Florida Trail in the Florida peninsula are closed because the underlying public lands are closed, including portions of the Ocean to Lake Hiking Trail.
West of the Apalachicola River, the state was not affected by Hurricane Irma. Parks and trails are open between Marianna, Panama City Beach, Destin/Fort Walton, Milton, and Pensacola. However, Florida State Parks have closed ALL of their campgrounds statewide. If you had a camping reservation, you’ll need to contact Reserve America at 1-800-326-3521.
KNOWN CLOSURES St. Vincent NWR.
Post-Irma floodwaters are wreaking havoc along the Suwannee, Santa Fe, and St. Johns River basins, with record high water along the Santa Fe. Avoid all public lands along these rivers.
The loop drive at Ravine Gardens State Park collapsed in several spots and will take some time to rebuild. On the coast, Fort Matanzas National Monument, which had just finished rebuilding their docks after Hurricane Matthew of last fall, has extensive debris and dock damage.
Osceola National Forest. Ocala National Forest. Suwannee River Wilderness Trail. All St. Johns Water Management District lands.
ALACHUA: Hatchet Creek WMA. Lochloosa CA. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park. Orange Creek CA. San Felasco Preserve State Park.
COLUMBIA: River Rise Preserve State Park
CLAY: Bayard WMA. Camp Chowenwaw Park. Jennings State Forest. Spring Park.
DIXIE: Log Landing WMA (Guarnto/Purvis Landing tracts). Suwannee River NWR.
DUVAL: Many Jacksonville city parks. Huguenot Memorial Park. Thomas Creek WMA
FLAGLER: Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park. Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area. Haw Creek Preserve State Park. Haw Creek Preserve. Palm Coast Linear Park. Princess Place Preserve. River to Sea Preserve. Washington Oaks Gardens State Park.
GILCHRIST: Hart Springs Park.
HAMILTON: Big Shoals Public Lands. Cypress Creek WMA.
LEVY: Bird Creek Park. Cedar Keys NWR. Lower Suwannee NWR.
LAFAYETTE: Troy Springs WMA.
NASSAU: Bethea State Forest.
ST JOHNS: Anastasia State Park. Faver-Dykes State Park. GTM Reserve. Palatka-to-St. Augustine State Trail. Vaill Point Park.
SUWANNEE: Peacock Springs State Park.
VOLUSIA: Blue Spring State Park. Buck Lake WMA. Hontoon Island State Park. Lake Ashby Park. Lake Woodruff NWR. Lyonia Preserve. All county-run campgrounds are closed.
A storm surge along the Indian River Lagoon removed the boards from most boardwalks, wharfs, docks, and piers on public land, including at Seminole Rest and Apollo district of Canaveral National Seashore. The sea overwashed the park road at Playalinda in several spots. Canaveral has reopened: Apollo Beach 8-8 and Playalinda Beach 6-8 daily. Surf is rough due to Hurricane Jose offshore. Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral was badly damaged; all camping reservations there through Oct 1 have been cancelled. Flooding continues along the St. Johns River basin, the Withlacoochee River, the Alafia River, and the Hillsborough River.
Ocala National Forest. All St. Johns Water Management District conservation and recreation areas.
BREVARD: All county campgrounds. Most parks along the Indian River Lagoon. Archie Carr NWR. Fox Lake Preserve. Hatbill Park. Jetty Park. Merritt Island NWR. Parrish Park. Turkey Creek Sanctuary. Viera Wetlands.
CITRUS: Chassahowitzka NWR. Crystal River NWR. Flying Eagle Preserve. Potts Preserve.
HERNANDO: Janet Butterfield Brooks WEA. Perry Oldenburg WEA. Weekiwachee Preserve. Weekiwachee WMA.
HILLSBOROUGH: Bullfrog Creek WEA. Cockroach Bay Preserve State Park. Hillsborough River State Park. Lower Hillsborough WMA. Ybor City Museum State Park. All conservation areas and nature preserves managed by Hillsborough County. Volunteers are needed for storm cleanup. All units of Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve.
INDIAN RIVER: Blue Cypress, North Sebastian, Oslo Riverfront, and Wabasso Scrub Conservation Areas.Environmental Learning Center on Wabasso Island. Pelican Island NWR.
LAKE: Emeralda Marsh. Lake Apopka RA. Lake Louisa State Park. Sawgrass Island Preserve. Seminole State Forest.
MARION: Gores Landing WMA. Ocklawaha Prairie CA. Rainbow River. Rainbow Springs State Park. Sunnyhill RA.
ORANGE: Hal Scott Preserve. Leu Gardens. Mead Garden. Moss Park. Oakland Nature Preserve. Pine Lily Preserve. Tibet-Butler Preserve. For county parks: call Orange County Parks and Recreation at 407-836-6200 before you try to go to a park to find out if it’s open.
OSCEOLA: Disney Wilderness Preserve. Fort Drum WMA. Kissimmee Lakefront Park. Makinson Island CA.
PASCO: Starkey Wilderness Preserve. Upper Hillsborough WMA. Withlacoochee River Park.
PINELLAS: Brooker Creek Preserve. Egmont Key NWR. Hammock Park.
POLK: Arbuckle WMA. Bok Tower Gardens. Catfish Creek Preserve State Park. Circle B Bar Reserve. Colt Creek State Park. Everglades Headwaters NWR. Green Swamp East. Lake Wales Ridge NWR. Peace River Park. Ridge Audubon Center. Saddle Creek Park. Street Nature Center. Van Fleet Trail. Walk-in-the-Water WMA.
SEMINOLE: Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park. Sabal Point Sanctuary. Wekiwa Springs State Park. A section of the Seminole Wekiva Trail from Montgomery Road to the Softball Complex will be closed indefinitely due to major damage to the trail. Closures for damage include the Flagler Trail, Big Tree Park, Soldier’s Creek Park, Greenwood Lakes Park, Lake Mills Park, Mullet Lake Park, and Overlook Park. All natural lands and the canoe launch for the Little Big Econ in Oviedo will remain closed until damage has been repaired.
SOUTH CENTRAL FLORIDA
Fisheating Creek has been flooding and the campground is fully under water. Gatorama lost its boardwalk and had other extensive damage to its infrastructure, plus flooding from Fisheating Creek. The Peace River is also flooding, which affects Arcadia and Zolfo Springs.
All Southwest Florida Water Management District conservation and recreation areas.
DESOTO: All county parks.
GLADES: Fisheating Creek WMA
HARDEE: Paynes Creek State Park.
HIGHLANDS: Highlands Hammock State Park. Lake June-in-Winter State Park. Platt Branch WEA.
HENDRY: Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum. STA 5/6.
OKEECHOBEE: Okeechobee Waterfront Park (aka Jaycee Park). Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park.
Everglades City took a direct hit from Irma’s landfall with extensive damage to homes and businesses from a storm surge of 8.8 feet. The interior of the Gulf Coast Visitor Center was washed out but the roof remains. Residents have learned what the historic boundaries of the Big Cypress Swamp are as flooding remains deep in residential areas built on drained swampland in North Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres, Estero/Corkscrew, and Golden Gates Estates. The swamp is extremely deep within Big Cypress National Preserve, which remains closed during damage assessments. The Myakka River is flooding, affecting communities and public lands in western Manatee and Sarasota counties.
Big Cypress National Preserve. De Soto National Memorial. All Southwest Florida Water Management District conservation and recreation areas.
CHARLOTTE: Allapatchee Shores Park. Don Pedro Island State Park. Hathaway Park Canoe/Kayak Launch. Spring Lake Park Canoe/Kayak Launch. Stump Pass Beach State Park. Portions of the Cape Haze Pioneer Trail.
COLLIER: Collier-Seminole State Park. Conservancy of Southest Florida. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. CREW Marsh Hiking Trails. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. Eagle Lakes Park. Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. Florida Panther NWR. Picayune Strand State Forest. Rookery Bay NERR. Tigertail Beach.
LEE: Cayo Costa State Park. Ding Darling NWR. Alva Scrub Preserve. Bob Janes Preserve. Bocilla Preserve. Buckingham Trails Preserve. Caloosahatchee Creeks West. Caloosahatchee Regional Park. Carver Preserve. Deep Lagoon Preserve. Estero Bay Preserve State Park. Estero Marsh Preserve. Gasparilla Island State Park. Gator Hole Preserve. Hickey Creek Mitigation Park. Hickory Swamp Preserve. Imperial Marsh Preserve. Koreshan State Historic Site. Lovers Key State Park. Matanzas Pass Preserve. Mound Key Archaeological State Park. Olga Shores Preserve. Orange River Canoe Park. Orange River Preserve. Pine Island Flatwoods Preserve. Pop Ash Creek Preserve. Shores Nature Trail Park. Six Mile Cypress Preserve. Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. St. James Creek Preserve. Telegraph Creek Preserve. West Marsh Preserve. Wild Turkey Preserve. Yellow Fever Creek Preserve. Yuca Pens Preserve.
MANATEE: Lake Manatee State Park. Madira Bickel Mound State Archaeological Site. Moody Branch WEA. South Fork State Park. Wingate Creek State Park. At Duette Preserve, portions of the trail at the Bear Bay Road entrance are currently closed due to unsafe trail conditions.
SARASOTA: Crowley Nature Center. Manasota Scrub Preserve. Myakka River State Park. Partial openings of Blind Pass Beach, Brohard Park, Caspersen Beach Park, Lemon Bay Park, Myakka PSGA, Shamrock Park, South Lido Nature Park, Twin Lakes Park, Venetian Waterway Park. FLOODING CLOSURES at Circus Hammock, Deer Prairie Creek Preserve North, Jelks Preserve, Myakkahtachee Creek Environmental Park, Old Miakka Preserve, Sleeping Turtles North and South, Snook Haven Park, T. Mabry Carlton Jr., Memorial Reserve, Walton Ranch.
High winds impacted parks up and down the coast in Southeast Florida. National parks are closed. Significant damage occurred at Biscayne National Park to park facilities, including headquarters, and to some of the buildings at Stiltsville. In Everglades National Park, Flamingo was washed over by a storm surge of 3-5 feet. Crews are clearing the Main Park Road.
Biscayne National Park (park waters closed) and Everglades National Park (park waters open). All WEAs and WMAs in region.
BROWARD: Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park. C.B. Smith Park. Deerfield Island Park. Easterlin Park. Everglades WMA. Hollywood North Beach Park. Lafayette Hart Park. Plantation Heritage Park. Secret Woods Nature Center. Sunview Park. T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park. Tree Tops Park. Woodmont Natural Area. PARK OPEN BUT TRAILS CLOSED at Ann Kolb Nature Center, Fern Forest, Long Key NA, Markham Park and Quiet Waters mountain bike trails, Pine Ridge equestrian trails.
MIAMI-DADE: Most city parks are open. County parks and preserves may not be, check ahead. A.D. Barnes Park. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Everglades WMA. Oleta River State Park. Southern Glades WEA. The Barnacle Historic State Park.
MARTIN: Big Mound Park. Greenfield Park. Phipps Park. Use caution at all open parks as hurricane debris is still on the ground.
PALM BEACH: NATURAL AREAS remain closed. Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. Holey Land WMA. Rotenberger WMA. Spanish River Park. STA-2. STA-3/4. Wakodahatchee Wetlands.
ST LUCIE: Avalon State Park. All St. Lucie PRESERVES remain closed because of storm debris and flooding.
As you’ve likely seen on news reports, the Florida Keys were devastated by Hurricane Irma. Because of infrastructure damage, don’t plan to travel there for the remainder of 2017. Bahia Honda and National Key Deer Refuge both took a direct hit from Irma’s eyewall. Fortunately, Key deer have been spotted running around Big Pine Key since then.
All local, state, and national parks throughout Monroe County. All WEAs and WMAs in region. Fort Jefferson had 60 feet of its moat collapse.
Master Lists of information
Check these lists before planning to visit any public lands in Florida this fall / winter.
- National Park Service status reports on our nine National Park units in Florida.
- Florida State Parks updates their park closure list daily. No word yet whether camping reservations cancelled due to closures will not trigger Reserve America cancellation fees.
- Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission has a comprehensive spreadsheet of the status of public lands along the Great Florida Birding Trail as well as the lands they manage as WMAs and WEAs.