Announcements and property closures

Following is a list of properties that are closed or have portions closed due to ongoing land management activities. We regret the temporary inconvenience, but the closures are necessary for public safety. If you have concerns or comments about any of these activities, please contact us at landmgmt@sjrwmd.com or 386-329-4404.

Closures, limited access at some properties due to hurricane damage

The district continues to assess damage to its lands resulting from September’s Hurricane Irma as flood waters continue to recede. Our goal is to reopen the properties for recreational uses as soon as it is safe to do so. Staff continue to assess access points, levees, trails and boat ramps. The following properties are closed or have limited access.

  • Econlockhatchee Sandhills Conservation Area
    • Limited access. Yellow loop is closed.
  • Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area
    • Areas 5 and 7 are closed.
    • Areas 2 and 4 can be accessed via boat.
    • Area 6 is open for walk-in only.
  • Fort Drum Marsh Conservation Area and Wildlife Management Area
    • East-West road is closed to vehicles until further notice.
  • Lake Apopka North Shore
    • Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is closed.
    • Lake Apopka Loop Trail is closed.
    • Red Trail off County Road 448A is open.
    • McDonald Canal Boat Ramp (Lake County) is open.
  • Lake Jesup Conservation Area
    • East Lake Jesup portion is closed for construction until further notice.
  • Moccasin Island tract of the Upper St. Johns River Marsh WMA (River Lakes Conservation Area)
    • Access point at Wickham Road remains closed.

Updates will be posted to this page as they become available.

Bayard Conservation Area

Posted 11-13-2017

A 63-acre timber harvest will begin on Nov. 13, 2017, and end in January 2018. As a result of the heavy equipment coming and going, portions of the white and yellow trails will be closed throughout the project (see map). A map and additional information will be posted at the Bayard trailheads. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Posted 3-24-2017

A 63-acre seed-tree cut at Bayard Conservation Area is scheduled to begin April 1, 2017 (see map). The contractor has until April 1, 2018, to complete the work. A seed-tree cut leaves a pre-determined number of large, mature seed-producing pine trees and removes the remainder. This is done in even-age pine stands to encourage natural recruitment of pines so the area can become a mixed age pine forest.

The western portion of the White Trail will be impacted during the work. Please be careful of logging trucks coming and going.

Clark Bay Conservation Area

Posted 3-24-2017

Numerous planted pine areas within Clark Bay Conservation Area, totaling 500 acres, will undergo a first thinning this year (see map). The work is underway and the contractor has until January 18, 2018, to complete the work.

While work is underway, please be careful with the logging trucks entering and exiting the property. This work could impact hunting within the Wildlife Management Area and the White Trail.

Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area

Updated on 2‑4‑2017

The 4.2-mile self-guided wildlife drive within the St. Johns River Water Management District’s Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area in Lake County will remain closed throughout the 2017 season (see map). The closure is due to projects geared at restoring the natural connection to Lake Griffin, improving the wildlife drive and constructing a pad for a new and larger public boat ramp. The closure is necessary for public safety as the district prepares to restore the connection between Lake Griffin and the area west of Emeralda Island Road known as Area Three.

Lake Jesup Conservation Area

Updated 7-11-2017

Several partnership restoration projects that will help improve the lake’s water quality are underway on the east side of the Lake Jesup Conservation Area. Visitors to the area might see heavy equipment as crews work to restore wetlands by removing invasive plants, removing sediment from Sweetwater canal, backfilling drainage ditches, and restoring creeks to their natural condition. Work is expected to continue through summer 2017. As a result, the white trail (see map) will be closed until the work is completed.

Newnans Lake Conservation Area

Posted 9-26-2017

The Florida Forest Service and the St. Johns River Water Management District will be hosting an Operation Outdoor Freedom deer hunt at Newnans Lake Conservation Area – North Tract for women only. In order to accommodate this hunt, Newnans Lake Conservation Area – North Tract will be closed from November 5-7, 2017.
Thank you for your cooperation.

Posted 8-17-2017

Due to high water conditions within portions of the Newnans Lake Conservation Area the Group Camp Site and the trails within the Hatchet Creek Tract west of Hatchet Creek are closed.

Posted 11-20-2017

Approximately 400 acres of pine plantation at three locations will be thinned at Pellicer Creek Conservation Area within the next year (see map). When thinning operations are underway on the area east of U.S. 1, the red and white trails will be temporarily closed due to heavy equipment use. Thank you for your patience.

Silver Springs Forest Conservation Area

Posted 6-23-2017

A hydrologic restoration project is underway at Silver Springs Forest Conservation Area. A portion of the project includes the construction of three overflow weir/drainage structures. The red trail will not be impacted by the project. The white and red-white connector trails will be impacted. The largest structure will be installed at the Half Mile Creek crossing located just northeast of the C.R. 326 trailhead. During the construction of this structure, the C.R. 326 trailhead will be closed for public safety.

We anticipate that all construction will be completed by the end of August 2017, unless we receive excessive rainfall.

Updated information and maps will be posted at all three trailheads on the property.

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

Posted 3-24-2017

Three areas of planted pines, totaling 218 acres, within Silver Springs Forest Conservation Area will undergo a first thinning (see map). The contractor has from April 15, 201,7 until April 15, 2018, to complete the work. Both the Red and White trails will be impacted by the work. Please be careful of logging trucks coming and going.

Sunnyhill Restoration Area

The Florida Forest Service and the St. Johns River Water Management District will be hosting an Operation Outdoor Freedom deer hunt at Sunnyhill Restoration Area – North. In order to accommodate this hunt, Sunnyhill Restoration Area – North will be closed from noon on Nov. 13, 2017, until 3:00 pm on Nov. 16, 2017.
Thank you for your cooperation.

Thomas Creek Conservation Area

Posted 3-24-2017

Multiple areas within Thomas Creek Conservation Area will have forestry operations occurring over the next year (see map). When work is underway, please be careful with the logging trucks entering and exiting the property. The contract allows the work to be done from March 30, 2017, through March 30, 2018. This work could impact hunting within the Wildlife Management Area and the White trail.