The over 35,000-acre Okaloacoochee Slough Wildlife Management Area in Hendry County provides important habitat for the endangered Florida panther, bald eagle, roseate spoonbill and the crested caracara. Its diverse natural communities include slough, marsh, cypress, wet prairie, pine flatwoods, oak hammocks and oak-palm hammocks.
The Florida Forest Service manages the property as a state forest, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission manages scheduled hunts. The South Florida Water Management District, Florida Forest Service, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission acquired the lands.
The land is also historically significant. Sears Road, which borders the property on the north, is named after John Sears, of Sears and Roebuck, who owned a large sawmill there. He logged pine for railroad cross ties during the 1920s. By the mid-1930s, the property was cleared of most of the harvestable timber. Hunting leases and cattle operations followed. The property was logged again in the mid-1980s. Today, remnant sawdust piles from portable sawmills used over the years dot the area.
Look for recreational opportunities, such as wildlife viewing, hunting, camping, horseback riding, non-motorized biking and hiking on 39 miles of trails. Fish in the canals and some small borrow pits. Paddling is a possibility, but areas to paddle are limited. There are no designated launch areas.
There are six access points along C.R. 832 approximately one mile between each point. Three have parking (see map). The area does not have potable water. However, it provides two Port-o-Lets two miles south on Wild Cow Grade in the primitive camping area, one of which is handicapped accessible. The area is open sunrise to sunset. Fees are $1 per day for all activities or $5 per person daily for camping.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission manages hunting on SFWMD lands.
Please visit www.myfwc.com regarding current hunt dates, regulations and directions to check stations to ensure the most accurate and latest information.
- Okaloacoochee Slough extends on either side of C.R. 832 in Hendry County. Drive on Highway 29 from Immokalee south (11 miles) or from LaBelle north (9 miles) and make a turn on to C.R 832 to the area, which starts three miles from Highway 29. From east or west, follow Highway 80 to LaBelle and turn south on Highway 29, then turn left on to C.R. 832.