Enjoy the natural wonders of Escribano Point Wildlife Management Area

May 12, 2017

View from Fundy Bayou campsite. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Interested in heading out for a few days exploring Florida nature at its best? Hike, camp, paddle, fish, or hunt at the Escribano Point Wildlife Management Area (EPWMA). Located within the boundaries of Eglin Air Force base, just north of Navarre, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy 4,057 acres of diverse recreational opportunities nestled along the shoreline of Blackwater Bay. All managed by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Escribano Point’s rich habitat mix creates year-round wildlife viewing. Salt marshes are some of Florida’s most productive habitats and are good places to discover songbirds, wading birds, and raptors. The old growth longleaf and slash pines support a variety of warblers, songbirds, and woodpeckers. Click here to learn about the variety of species you may discover.

Campsite on Blackwater Bay. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Enjoy primitive camping (no potable water or electricity) at two live oak-shaded campgrounds situated directly on the water. Each campsite offers beautiful scenery and easy access to beautiful stretches of undeveloped coastline. Campers must obtain a free permit/site reservation using the online reservation system or by calling the Northwest Regional Office at (850) 265-3676 during regular business hours Mon-Fri, 7a.m. – 4 p.m. CST).

Paddlers may launch canoes, kayaks, or stand up paddleboards at primitive launch facilities located at two campsites and explore the scenic coastline and meandering tidal creeks along Blackwater Bay and Fundy Bayou.

Escribano Point Wildlife Management Area offers a few short nature trails. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Hikers can enjoy several nature trail options. The Fundy Bayou trail is .78 mi., Bayside Loop trail .5 mi., and Blackwaer Loop trail .2 mi. The Blackwater Loop takes you through some of the scrubby flatwoods habitat characterized by widely scattered longleaf and slash pine, with a midstory of scrub oaks, sand pine, and gallberry. The Bayside Lopp winds through scrubby flatwoods, gently leading into mesic flatwoods, which is wetter topography.

Enjoy year-round fishing for fresh and saltwater species. The most popular fish that can be found are redfish, flounder, speckled trout, sheepshead, bass, and catfish. Click here to learn more about required fishing licenses.

Hunters will find seasons for archery, muzzleloading gun, general gun, small game and spring turkey. A quota permit is required for all seasons except small game. Check the regulations summary and calendar before you visit or go online here for more information.

History:
Escribano Point has been utilized by humans for centuries, dating to as early as the Weeden Island Period (450-1000 A.D.).  Evidence suggests that native inhabitants remained in the area as late as the 19th century, but exact dates are unknown. Records from the Division of Historical Resources show that the area that is now Escribano Point Wildlife Management Area (EPWMA) once contained a significant Native American population and at least one village.  In addition to being significant to native inhabitants, EPWMA also played a part in the regions naval stores industry, especially turpentine. While nothing remains of the industry in the area, historical records indicate that several “towns” existed within the current boundaries to support turpentine operations. Local lore is that the largest of the towns even contained a commissary and dance hall (Bingham 1991). While much of the history for the area has been lost through the years, enough remains to ascertain that the area has a long, colorful, and significant history.

What you need to know before you go:
• Escribano Point Wildlife Management Area directions. From SR 87 watch for brown WMA sign. Turn unto Choctaw Field Road. Just before the end, turn right on to Grassy Point Road (clay dirt). Follow the signs. ::MAP::
• A permit from Eglin Air Force Base 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, or go online at eglin.isportsman.net
• To hunt or fish you must possess the appropriate license and permit.
• See the regulations summary for hours of operation and vehicle use guidelines.
• Dogs are permitted, but must be kept under physical restraint at all times. Regulations regarding hunting dogs can be found in the regulations summary.
• Restrooms are available for campers in the campgrounds; otherwise, there are no restroom facilities.