Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area
The Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area covers an area of 34,597 acres, and is managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. It is bordered on the west by the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, on the south by SR550 just north of the Weeki Wachee River, on the east by US19, and runs north to just south of the Chassahowitzka River. Unlike the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge - which is mostly wetland swamp marsh - a large part of the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area consists of flatwoods, sandhill and scrub habitat. The area was historically used for logging operations, although disturbed areas are gradually returning to a more natural habitat now that they are protected from development.

Hunting and fishing are the major recreational activities promoted in the area. Hunters and fisherman must have the required permits, and should check the posted hunting season schedules for different game.

Hiking, off-road bicycling, and kayaking are also popular in the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area. There are many miles of forest roads and logging tram trails available for exploring. The named roads are all hard-packed shell and make for easy bike riding ... although during the rainy season they may be muddy.

Horseback riding is allowed on the named roads. Overnight camping is not permitted. Open water and mangrove kayaking, as well as motorboating are available only at the northern section in an area where the wildlife managment area overlaps the National Wildlife Refuge.

One of the interesting ways to explore this area is by a scenic self-guided driving tour. The tour takes you on an eight mile drive along the unpaved roads within the area - pointing out many of the features and habitats along the way at numbered stops. Be sure to print out the driving tour brochure using the link below - because copies may not be available at the park. To reach the start of the self-guided tour, go west on Indigo Lane to the parking area indicated on the map. There are also two short hiking loops with trailheads at that location

One of the more interesting and unique features of Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area is one that you will not see described on the official Florida Fish and Wildlife website, and is not shown on the map of the preserve. It is Eagle's Nest Sink ... a large sinkhole in the southernmost section of the preserve that connects to miles of underwater caverns. It is known by cave divers the world over as the "Mount Everest" of cave diving. The exploration of Eagle's Nest Sink and it's labyrinth of caves and chambers has resulted in the death of 10 cave divers in recent years. It is, however, still open to the public.
Getting there ...
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