“wild wildlife viewing”
Allapattah comes from the Seminole Indian word for alligator. But don't let the land's namesake keep you from visiting this predominantly wet flatwoods expanse. By now you probably envision the property as a swampy, no-man's land teeming with alligators. But to the contrary, the land is inviting. The Allapattah hiking and bicycling trailhead on County Road 714 was was developed in partnership with Martin County. Visitors may hike and bike along a 1.5-mile long, user-friendly shellrock road leading to a panoramic open vista of marsh that wading birds frequent. You might see an alligator or two, but they are not here in great numbers. After the sun sets, sightings of another kind are much more common – the dark night sky in this rural area makes conditions ideal for stargazing. On your way, you'll notice lots of open pasture that once was wet flatwoods until it was drained decades ago for cattle grazing. These open areas are targeted for extensive restoration by filling in the old drainage ditches to bring back the wetland vegetation and by replanting thousands of pines. You can also enjoy the land on separate trails by horseback. In addition, the area is open for hunting at certain times of the year. Whatever way you choose to explore, be sure to bring a picnic lunch and take a relaxing break. Fifteen miles west of Stuart on Florida's east coast, Allapattah Flats WMA anchors 20,945 acres of marshes and slash pine flatwoods. This northwestern Martin County site is part of a vast area of marshes and flatwoods that once extended from the upper St. Johns River basin to the headwaters of the St. Lucie River. Surface water from Allapattah Flats eventually flows into the Indian River Lagoon. The area provides public recreational opportunities while protecting habitat for rare animals, particularly sandhill cranes, wood storks and crested caracaras, and game animals such as white-tailed deer and wild turkey. Wading birds frequent the wetlands. To prepare the property for cattle and crop production, previous landowners constructed swales and ditches to drain the site's wetlands and channel the water to the C-23 Canal. Today, the South Florida Water Management District is restoring natural water flow on the site by filling in some of these manmade waterways and installing water control structures on others. Also, they are constructing berms to protect adjacent waterways and are planting pines in some areas to reestablish uplands. Martin County and the South Florida Water Management District jointly own Allapattah Flats. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission partners with the South Florida Water Management District and Martin County to manage public use and wildlife. The area is open to public access year-round. Recreational opportunities include hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, primitive camping, hunting. fishing and wildlife viewing. Visitors may hike or bike on the five mile long trail system leading to an open marsh popular with wading birds. There are separate trails for equestrians as well as a 150-acre riding area. Children under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet when horseback riding on public lands. For more detailed information go to Nicole's Law PDF. All horseback riders must have proof of current negative Coggins Test results for their horses when on state lands. There are three parking areas for horse trailers: the first is on the east side of Fox Brown Rd. at the equestrian trail head; the second is on the south side of Martin Hwy. (CR 714) at the equestrian riding area (FWC and Martin County are working with local equestrians to develop an additional trail system at this parking area); and the third is on the ast side of Allapattah Rd. (CR 609) at the C-23 canal to provide access to the trail along the C-23 canal levee (this trail is adjacent to but not on the area, it is a cooperative effort between Allapattah's landowners). Between September and March, high-quality quota hunts take place on limited days. They include seasons for archery, muzzleloading gun, family hunt, general gun and spring turkey. A quota is not required during the small game season, which runs from mid-November through the first Sunday in January. Fishing is permitted year-round.
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Allapattah Flats Wildlife Management Area
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
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