County Considers A Boat Ramp At Otto Hill For Perdido River Access For First Responders, Small Personal Craft

April 5, 2021

Escambia County is considering a gated boat launch at Otto Hill to allow first responders access to the Perdido River, but the public will be able to use it to launch small craft.

This week, the Escambia County Commission is expected to enter into an interlocal agreement with the Northwest Florida Water Management District. If approved, Escambia County will design and build a 10-foot wide boat launch with a gate at the Otto Hill Recreation area. It will be constructed at the site of a former primitive boat launch.

The gate across the launch will prohibit nonessential vehicle access by the public. Gate keys will be provided only to county staff and emergency personnel, water management staff, Escambia Search and Rescue, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

While the public will not have vehicle access to the launch, there will be walk-around space to allow the public to hand launch and retrieve canoes, kayaks and small boats.

The Otto Hill Recreation Area is located at 2401 Jacks Branch Road, just south of Fillingim Landing. It has a pavilion, portable toilet and reservation only campsite in addition to river access.

There are several short hiking trails — one of which leads to a picturesque sandbar approximately 100 yards from the main camp site. Under normal conditions, the river is shallow enough in this area to provide a fantastic swimming spot for children, according to the water district.

A short swim or paddle across the river leads visitors to another sandbar and more sunbathing opportunities.

The Escambia County Commission with vote on the agreement with the Northwest Florida Water Management District at a meeting on Thursday.

Pictured: The Otto Hill Recreation Area on the Perdido River off Jacks Branch Road. Photos for, click to enlarge.


19 Responses to “County Considers A Boat Ramp At Otto Hill For Perdido River Access For First Responders, Small Personal Craft”

  1. William L on April 6th, 2021 5:20 pm

    If someone fell out the boat up on that part of the river, they only need to stand up, it’s barely chest deep in the deepest spot and 80% of the river north of the interstate is knee deep.

  2. Molino resident on April 6th, 2021 1:14 pm

    The whole reason that it is off limits to the public is because first responders need somewhere in the molino area to launch a boat for a search and rescue or a drowning patient the closet place for first responders to launch a boat is mile down the road I totally agree that it should be off limits to the public Because what if it’s crowded and first responders can’t launch there boat time is very precious especially on that river every minute that goes buy could be someone’s life

  3. MR REALITY on April 6th, 2021 8:40 am

    Our leaders are a JOKE. Lets build a boat ramp WITH PUBLIC FUNDS, then close it off to govt only…WHO DO THESE FOOLS THINK THEY ARE? THE FEDS?

  4. Stumpknocker on April 6th, 2021 2:48 am

    You know what would be absolutely amazing if people commenting read past the headline or read the article and actually comprehended it. I just have to wonder who ties their shoes for them?

  5. Kris Manning on April 5th, 2021 9:18 pm

    You all are missing the point! This is for EMERGENCY ACCESS to the river! If you make it public, emergency personnel will not be able to get in to help the person in need! Think about the family whose child went missing or parent that had a heart attack or fell overboard while fishing. This isn’t about you, it’s about helping someone in need. I come from a firefighter family, think about the first responder who got there to late to save someone because of inaccessibility! Really people, can you stop being so selfish and think about someone else besides yourself!

  6. Oversight on April 5th, 2021 7:28 pm

    And the cost? If the county wants to spend taxpayer money, it should at least tell “We the People” what the taxpayers will spend. Don’t go halfway for a few emergency folks, make it fully open to the public park and boat ramp. Just say’n.

  7. JD on April 5th, 2021 7:10 pm

    @ bream reaper. My Folks are from muscogee rd area about a mile from the river on florida side. I lived there too for a few years. We spent numerous days and times at muscogee. But it all ended with the idiots doing stupid stuff then the hunting club took over the access and then no one could get in but members. So yes it is an uphill battle to maintain law and order nowadays.

  8. Big D on April 5th, 2021 6:33 pm

    Isn’t there a ramp at Fillingim Landing Paddlecraft Landing?

  9. Bream reaper on April 5th, 2021 5:55 pm

    I remember the good ole days fishing at muscogee. I grew up there about a mile over on the Bama side so I prudy much spent my entire childhood at the river. I sure miss it but you know how it is “you can’t have nothing nice”. The trash will move in and mess that place up for everybody too!

  10. tc on April 5th, 2021 4:09 pm

    The gate has to be there to keep all the trash out.. Ya know those that ruin it for everyone by painting graffiti, vandalizing, littering, drinking, drugs, fighting etc. cant have anything nice in the community anymore due to all the thugs..

  11. retired on April 5th, 2021 3:40 pm

    I just checked now through sept. 1 NO VACANCIES

  12. boat owner on April 5th, 2021 11:30 am

    Put a ramp there. Put camping spots there and make it public like Cotton Lake on Escambia River.

  13. Curious on April 5th, 2021 10:09 am

    Why not just open the launch to the public, there are very few in the area! I have tried numerous times to book this spot for camping with no luck! It is always reserved but I have walked in from the river to look on 4 different occasions that it’s not available and not a soul be camping there!! Almost as if someone is purposely booking up to keep others out!

  14. William Lingo on April 5th, 2021 9:26 am

    This is where the county should have built the boat ramp that they wasted 3 million dollars building on Hwy 90 next to a commercial boat ramp and less than 1-2 miles from an existing county boat ramp.

  15. Rasheed Jackson on April 5th, 2021 8:40 am

    And how long before someone pulls the gate down? This is a bad idea. If the county builds a ramp it should be open to the public. It could be a pay to launch. The county could install a machine that accepts cards or cash and dispences a ticket you place on your dash. Of course that too would probably be torn down and destroyed. So the best course of action would be to have it open to the public.
    The problem with these out of the way and secluded launches is, vehicles tend to get vandalized while not attended. It is sad but true, people will vandalize and steal others property when given an opportunity. So a boat ramp would be use at your own risk.
    I personally would like to see more access to the river. It is a beautiful river and is great for kayaking and tubing. Unfortunatley the area has had a history of, as one commenter called “riff raff” that frequently patrols the boat launches.
    It seems the very people the county tries to accomodate are the ones that create the problems we all have to deal with. For me I will continue to use private and pay to use accomodations. In the long run it is cheaper.

  16. StraightShooter on April 5th, 2021 7:20 am

    The idea of locked access for public is wrong. Public money paying for it. Keys only given to a select few. It smells bad to me.

  17. Molino resident on April 5th, 2021 6:21 am

    Putting a gate up across it is ridiculous. There’s practically no access to the northern part of the river anymore for anyone with a boat. The campsite is already by reservation only which is almost impossible to get. If they put in a ramp it should be accessible to campers to launch with a vehicle. Having to carry a boat and all your other equipment is just too hard to do.

  18. JD on April 5th, 2021 6:05 am

    Ok we been asking for years and decades for the old boat ramp at muscogee that’s still there buried in sand to be repaired and access restored but it’s always been silence. With the wildlife officers patrolling as they have been I’m pretty sure all the riff raff won’t hang around like it used to be. But once again this idea is out of sight out of mind.

  19. Whynot on April 5th, 2021 5:18 am

    Why not let public launch boats from here?

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