About this property
The district acquired this property in 1994 with Preservation 2000 funds to protect water resources. Prior to the district’s purchase, the property had undergone extensive clear-cutting for its timber resources. The district has focused on planting longleaf pine to restore the area’s native plant community. Natural communities include basin swamp, floodplain swamp, basin marsh, baygall, blackwater stream, hydric hammock, mesic flatwoods and scrub. Slash pine, cabbage palms and an undergrowth of saw palmetto and gallberry can be found in nearly all of the upland areas. Wetland areas contain various hardwoods, cypress, sweetbay, red bay, loblolly bay and wax myrtle thickets.
This conservation area is part of the 39,642-acre Lake George Wildlife Management Area. Hunting on the property is managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
One of the special highlights of this property is its more than 5 miles of trails, perfect for hiking, biking or horseback riding. Along the trails, visitors will find covered picnic tables among stately old trees.
Heart Island South of HWY 40
The western bridge on Deep Creek road between Wells Road and Buckles Road is closed. There is a large hole that was washed out from the significant amount of rainfall from Hurricane Ian. The rest of the named roads in the WMA brochure are open to vehicular traffic.
Heart Island Strawn Tract
The white and yellow trails are both open. The red trail remains closed due to a tree down on Center Road.
Please respect Florida’s wildlife and use caution while visiting district lands. These are wild animals. For your safety, do not approach or feed any wild animal. The mix of natural communities provides excellent habitat for a variety of species, including Florida black bear and gopher tortoise. Deer, otters, woodpeckers, songbirds, foxes, raccoons, alligators and a variety of snakes and lizards have been observed.
- Hiking, horseback riding, seasonal hunting, bicycling, picnicking, wildlife viewing and primitive camping at designated sites.
The property can be accessed from three different roads.
- S. 17 just south of State Road (SR) 40 — parking area with walk-through for bicycling, hiking and horseback riding.
- SR 40 — parking area with walk-through.
- SR 11 north of SR 40 — two parking areas on the west side of SR 11.
For details and to get driving directions from your location, see the Google Maps link on this page.