FWC, Northwest Florida Water Management District Closing Campgrounds And Recreational Facilities

March 22, 2020

The Northwest Florida Water Management District and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are closing recreational facilities and campgrounds on Monday, March 23.

The Northwest Florida Water Management District

The Northwest Florida Water Management District is closing each of its reservation campsites and developed recreation areas beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, for the next 60 days. This includes picnic areas, swimming areas, and other developed recreation sites.

Hiking trails, bike trails, equestrian trails, and boat ramps will remain open for individual use, but users may not congregate at or use associated shared facilities (e.g. picnic tables, pavilions, restrooms, etc.) Individuals must maintain appropriate distances from other users while using trails and launching and retrieving boats and paddle craft.

Until further notice, hunting and other disbursed recreation activities are allowed on all District-owned Wildlife Management Areas in accordance with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rules for these areas.

Individuals on District lands are expected to abide by current health guidelines implemented by the federal and/or state government for prevention of COVID-19 transmission, and in accordance with FWC regulations.

Wildlife Management Areas where disbursed (backcountry) camping is allowed include: Escambia River WMA, Choctawhatchee River/Holmes Creek WMA, and the District-owned portions of the Yellow River WMA, Apalachicola WMA, and Apalachicola River Wildlife and Environmental Area (WEA).

FWC Campgrounds

The FWC is closing all designated campgrounds on the Wildlife Management Area (WMA) system for a minimum of 30 days beginning Monday, March 23 at 10 a.m. Also, permits for camping after Monday, March 23 will be canceled. On areas where it is currently allowed, dispersed wilderness camping (camping outside of designated campgrounds or where no permit is required) will continue to be allowed, but only for groups of less than 10 people.

Pictured: The Northwest Florida Water Management District’s Pipes Landing on the Perdido River off Jacks Branch Road. Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.


5 Responses to “FWC, Northwest Florida Water Management District Closing Campgrounds And Recreational Facilities”

  1. Tylar on March 22nd, 2020 7:32 pm

    Cant close private river spots

  2. Lee on March 22nd, 2020 2:24 pm

    I think is being done to limit use of first responders.

  3. bewildered on March 22nd, 2020 12:03 pm

    None of this makes sense. If someone announces on a social media site that Walmart or some other store has toilet paper, milk or bread, hundreds of people rush to the store at the same time and fight over the items. An out of control shopping crowd HAS MORE close contact than a group paddling down a river.
    If they are serious about this “isolation” we need quantity stamps for necessary items again ( according to household size) to stop this hoarding madness .

  4. A on March 22nd, 2020 10:29 am

    Mic…I agree. However, I think the ban on camping is to detour people from travelling out if town. Maybe they are doing this so locals can enjoy the outdoors without attracting out of state visitors, who are not already here.

  5. mic hall on March 22nd, 2020 7:40 am

    I am confused by the conflicting messages. One is to keep up outdoor activities that do not gather groups and the FWC says stay away. Hunting can be the ultimate social distancing event. Maybe they are not aware but most people camp with the same people they live with and do not socialize with other campers.

    The thing that confuses me the most is keeping the State parks open for day use but closed for camping. Day use is when people get together with people not in there home. Camping is when most people don’t even do more than say “Hi” from a distance under normal conditions and is almost always the same people they live with.

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