Water Conservation Area 1 (Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge)
Water Conservation Area 1 (WCA 1) is the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. The South Florida Water Management District owns the conservation area and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages it as a refuge.
The refuge and its visitors' center, with a butterfly garden, displays and a lecture room, attract more than 300,000 people annually. Take a short, shady stroll through a cypress dome from the loop boardwalk that leads out from the center. Accessible by car and only a short distance from the visitors' center is another popular part of the refuge – the 276-acre marsh system on the east side of the main Everglades levee. Ten miles of walking trails let you observe wading birds and butterflies and learn about Everglades restoration. On-the-ground experiments are taking place in a portion of the marsh system to test various water flow regimes for large-scale Everglades enhancement. A helpful information kiosk explains the experiments.
The 147,392-acre main expanse of the refuge lies west of the levee and is accessible by boat. A canoe trail leads into the ridge and slough landscape, giving a close up view of small tree islands and a sense of what early explorers might have seen as they traveled for days across the Everglades. A concessionaire provides canoes, and bicyclists may ride 12 miles from this area to the south end of the refuge along the main levee.
The area is home to the endangered Everglades kite and wood stork and other wildlife, including alligators, bobcats, red-bellied turtles and river otters.
For More Information:
The refuge hosts "Everglades Day," a major annual environmental festival held in February. Call (561) 732-3684 for more information about refuge hours and programs.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) manages hunting in Water Conservation Area 1/the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).
Please visit www.fws.gov regarding current hunt dates, regulations and directions to check stations to ensure the most accurate and latest information for WCA 1.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission manages hunting on all other 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.
- Headquarters entrance off Lee Road: Take I-95 or the Florida Turnpike to Boynton Beach Boulevard. Go west to U.S. 441/State Road 7. Go south on U.S. 441/State Road 7 for approximately two miles to Lee Road. Take a right on Lee Road and proceed a short distance to the headquarters entrance gate.
- 20-Mile Bend entrance (north boat ramp): West of Wellington. From I-95, take Southern Boulevard west to S.R. 880. Go left. Take an immediate left just after the green bridge onto 20-mile Bend Road. Go right onto 20-mile Bend Boat Ramp Road. Follow road to automatic gate (open sunrise to sunset).
- Hillsboro entrance (south boat ramp/bicycle trail): West of Deerfield Beach in the Hillsboro Area, located on S.R. 827 (Loxahatchee "Lox" Road). From I-95, exit at Hillsboro Boulevard. Go west. Take a right on U.S. 441/State Road 7, then a left on Loxahatchee "Lox" Road. Go nearly seven miles to end of road.