South Florida Water Management District
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 . 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. For more information: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) (561) 625-5122; South Florida Water Management District (561) 686-8800. Special-opportunity dove hunts take place October - January. Special opportunity permits are required. For information about the dove fields, read FWC's General Information on WMA Dove Fields. More current dove field conditions can be obtained at the Field Update page. Visit the Dove Hunters Hotline web site to find out the latest information on FWC dove fields across the state of Florida. Most of the information will be updated every Thursday throughout the dove season.
Rules Regarding Dogs
- For purposes other than hunting, dogs are allowed, but must be kept under physical restraint at all times. Dogs are prohibited in areas posted as "closed to public access" by FWC administrative action. No person shall allow any dog to pursue or molest any wildlife during any period in which the taking of wildlife by the use of dogs is prohibted.
- Hunting dogs may be taken onto the WMA after 8 a.m. the day before the opening of a season and shall be removed by 6 p.m. one day after the end of the season. Hunting with dogs is prohibited, except bird dogs or retrievers may be used during the small game and migratory bird seasons for hunting small game. The take of wild hog with dogs is prohibited. Dogs are prohibited in areas posted as "closed to public access" by FWC administrative action. No person shall allow any dog to pursue or molest any wildlife during any period in which the taking of wildlife by the use of dogs is prohibted. Dogs on leashes can be used for trailing wounded game.
View FWC's Regulations Summary for Allapattah Flats for an area map, hunting seasons, permits, fees, and area regulations.
- Visit the South Florida Water Management District's Allapattah Flats site.