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Wildlife management areas still celebrating 75 years

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Florida’s wildlife management areas celebrated their 75th anniversary over the past year by welcoming more people to explore the dozens of WMAs across the state.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) invited residents and visitors to discover one or more of the WMAs scattered throughout the state, from the Keys to the Panhandle. There were special events and activities during the anniversary – ranging from bioblitzes to geocaching, a photo contest, birding walks and paddling tours – plus regular WMA things to do, such as boating, fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking, biking, hunting and horseback riding.

The result was thousands of people, who never before set foot on the nearly 6 million acres of the WMA system, visiting at least one WMA in 2017 to appreciate Florida’s native wildlife, natural beauty and many outdoors activities.

“Florida’s wildlife management areas are beautiful places for people to experience the outdoors and create memories with family and friends,” said Eric Sutton, FWC Executive Director. “We encourage people to explore Florida’s WMAs to enjoy native wildlife and natural landscapes.”

What’s next? The FWC is extending its invitation to people to show up at a Florida WMA for the first time or explore a WMA they have never before visited. Just go to our map to find a WMA near you.

Several of the free, participatory opportunities offered during the WMAs’ 75th anniversary still will be available:

  • Florida Nature Trackers – Use Florida Nature Trackers on iNaturalist (both a website and an app). Then if you photograph plants and animals on a WMA, you can upload them and have them identified by experts. This endeavor makes anyone into a citizen scientist, and it helps FWC biologists by providing additional information on what species are where on WMAs.
  • Geocaching – Join new geocaching challenges related to WMAs that will be launched later this year. They may be tied to themes such as Florida wildlife species and Native American heritage.
  • Subscribe to WMA topics – Receive articles about individual WMAs delivered by email. Click on “Sign Up” at the top of any MyFWC.com webpage.

More information about the WMAs’ 75th anniversary and the experiences that WMAs offer to Floridians and visitors all year-long can be found at MyFWC.com/WMA75.