Following old forest roads, the purple-blazed loop of the Footprints Trail through the heart of Babcock Ranch, a vast prairie punctuated by cypress strands, provides a simple introduction to this often-squishy ecosystem.
Recreation in FWC Wildlife and Environmental Areas
Hiking, camping, biking, and paddling in Florida's Wildlife and Environmental Areas managed by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Hunting is generally not permitted in these areas.
The southernmost concentration of ancient longleaf pine in America, the Big Pine Tract of Chinsegut WEA is also the second largest contiguous tract of old-growth longleaf pine in Florida.
At Chinsegut WEA, the Conservation Center Tract is a birder’s delight. Sandhill cranes are common in May’s Prairie, which the loop trail circles for a 2 mile hike.
With a surprising diversity of oak species for Central Florida on its 1.5-mile loop, Perry Oldenburg WEA protects a prime piece of sandhill habitat where gopher tortoises thrive.
A live oak tree more than 200 years old is the centerpiece of Split Oak Forest, a 2,000-acre prairie and scrub preserve near Orlando, home to families of sandhill cranes.
With more than 4,200 acres in this FWC Wildlife Environmental Area, Watermelon Pond WEA offers both solitude and scenery along a vast system of prairie habitats.