Water Conservation Areas 2 and 3 (WCA 2 3) are mainly signature Everglades sawgrass marsh, interspersed with tree islands. Ownership is mixed, with State, South Florida Water Management District and private ownership. The State leases portions of its land to the Miccosukee Indian Tribe. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission manages the areas and conducts hunts for waterfowl, deer and small game. You can access adjacent rim canals by boat, the interior marshes by airboat, and the levees by bicycle and hiking. Note that low water during the dry, winter season can hamper airboat access. Many boat ramps ring the areas for your use.
Scientists with the District monitor water quality in the areas and treat exotic vegetation to keep it under maintenance control. Other scientists conduct research on how to restore the Everglades ecosystems and protect endangered species and other wildlife. Because the conservation areas are cordoned off with water control levees and canals which have affected the health of the Everglades, studies are under way to determine how to restore natural flow through these wetland expanses. Long-term plans contemplate removal of certain levees to encourage a more natural water flow pattern throughout the Everglades.
Some 75 private hunt camps dot the landscape, and many are under 20-year leases with the underlying land owner. Owners of the camps reach them mostly by airboat. Some of the camps are built on stilts over the open water areas and others are situated on tree islands.
Away from urban South Florida's bright lights, the dark night sky of the areas presents excellent stargazing opportunities. Amateur astronomers can access the L-5 levee along the northern edge of WCA 3A to set up their telescopes and explore the natural wonders of the universe.
For More Information:
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) (561) 625-5122.
Activities by Site
- WCA 2: airboating, bicycling, boat ramp, boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking, hunting, kayaking
- WCA 3: frogging, stargazing
Directions – Boat Ramps
- Area 2A (north end or area 2): West of Deerfield Beach in the Hillsboro Area, located on Rt. 827 (Loxahatchee "Lox" Road). From I-95 exit at Hillsboro Boulevard. Go west. Take a right on U.S. 441 / S.R. 7, then a left on Loxahatchee "Lox" Road. Go nearly seven miles to end of road.
- Area 2B (south end of area 2) and canals L-38E and L-35B: Sawgrass Expressway to I-75 north. Go north on U.S. 27 for about two miles. Boat ramp at Sawgrass Recreation Area. A second ramp four miles north on U.S. 27.
- Area 3A (north): U.S. 27 to L-5. Go west on L-5 at signs for Holey Land and Rotenberger Wildlife Management Areas. Three ramps on south side of levee. Park on levee.
- Areas 3A (north) and 3A (south), including access to L-67A: Sawgrass Expressway to I-75 north. Six ramps along I-75-three on each side of road. Also at Everglades Holiday Park.
- Area 3B (south end of area 3, Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area) and L-67A canal: I-75 to U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail). Three ramps on north side of road. Middle ramp accesses L-67A.