Yellow River WMA - Escribano Point Parcels

Photo Escribano Point shoreline
Fred Salomon
Gulf Coast Kayak Fishing Association

The Escribano Point parcels encompass 1,166-acres within the Grassy Point Area in the southwestern tip of the Yellow River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The WMA is located fourteen miles northeast of Pensacola (across Pensacola Bay), and six miles southeast of Milton. The northernmost parcel is bordered on the east by Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), on the south by Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD)-owned lands within the Yellow River Wildlife Management Area, and on the west and north by wetlands along Blackwater Bay, including Catfish Basin and the Weaver River, which flows into the Yellow River. The southern two parcels are bordered by Eglin AFB and private lands that extend to East Bay. The northern parcel is an expanse of black needlerush marsh surrounding Catfish Creek and tidal creeks that grade into pine forest at higher elevations. The southern parcels consist of basin swamp, maritime hammock and scrubby pine forest. The parcels protect some of the last undeveloped waterfront tracts in the county. They are part of a network of publicly owned conservation lands that provide habitat for rare plants and animals such as the white-topped pitcher plant, Gulf sturgeon and Florida black bear and help safeguard the water quality in Blackwater Bay, East Bay and the Yellow River.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is the lead agency for the Escribano Point parcels, but they work closely with the owners and operators of the adjoining conservation lands (NFWMD, Eglin AFB and the Florida Department of Envionmental Protection) to ensure that resource protection and recreational opportunities are of the highest quality. FWC will manage the area by restoring historic water flow, replanting native vegetation and reintroducing a prescribed burning regime that mimics natural fire events.

The Escribano Point parcels are open year-round. Except for a paved public road that leads to the Grassy Point Campground, access is limited and few of the unimproved roads run through the parcels. In most cases, because of vehicular access restrictions imposed by Eglin AFB, visitors can drive only part of the way to the parcels and then must walk the rest. A permit from Eglin AFB is required to access Department of Defense Lands. The permit costs $10.00 and can be purchased at: Natural Resources Branch, 107 Hwy 85 North, Niceville, FL 32578; (850) 882-4164. Recreation includes paddling (northern parcel), wildlife viewing, hunting, fishing, hiking and photography. Camping is allowed year-round at the Grassy Point Campground in the northern parcel. A permit from the Northwest Florida Water Management District is required to camp elsewhere in the Grassy Point Area. Paddlers can launch canoes and kayaks at a primitive launch area near the campground. Hunting opportunities include seasons for archery, muzzleloading gun, general gun, small game and spring turkey. Hunting during all seasons except small game requires a quota permit. Motorized vehicles may be operated on named and numbered roads; all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are prohibited. Fishing is permitted year-round. Catfish, black bass and bream are the most popular freshwater species taken; saltwater favorites include red drum, spotted seatrout, flounder, striped bass and sheepshead.  Also see the Yellow River WMA website.

For more information: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, (850) 265-3677, MyFWC.com/recreation.




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