This area was purchased in 1914 by a lumberman from Pittsburg named Edward Babcock. In 1931, he leased the timber rights on his land, and eventually nearly all of the old growth pines were cut down for timber. The Commission of Game and Fresh Water Fish (the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission before it was called that), started to buy land for conservation and wildlife management. In 1941, they bought 19,200 acres of land from Edward’s son, Fred. Babcock Webb WMA is the oldest wildlife management area in Florida. Today, there are over 65,000 acres that make up the Fred C. Babcock/Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area. It was originally named after a commissioner at that time, Cecil M. Webb. It’s name was changed in 1995 to the Fred C. Babcock/Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area. We just call it Babcock Webb.
There is a $3 per person or $6 per vehicle day use fee to enter the area, which is paid at a self-serve kiosk.
The roads in this area used to be used for logging early in the 1900’s. Today, there are approximately thirty-seven miles of dirt roads for visitors to hike and bike.
The area is predominantly comprised of wet pine flatwoods, interspersed with pockets of wet prairie, dry prairie, freshwater marshes, six artificial ponds, and the 395 acre Webb Lake.
There’s something for everybody when it comes to outdoor recreation here. For fishing, Webb Lake is stocked, as are three Marl Ponds. Some of the fish you’ll find here include bluegill that sometimes exceed ten inches in length (due to feeders that have been installed to help them grow), black crappie, largemouth bass, speckled perch, channel catfish, and redear sunfish. There are three boat ramps available to launch your canoe, kayak, or non-gasoline powered boat. Gasoline-powered boats are not allowed.
The Cecil M. Webb Public Shooting range is a popular place for target shooting. The range was built in 1964. There are supervised handgun and rifle ranges as well as two self-throw shotgun pads. You must bring your own paper targets or clay targets and thrower. The range is closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and major holidays. It’s open from 8am-5pm. For more information, call (863) 648-3200.
This area is open to hunting at various times of the year. For more information on hunting regulations, check out the brochure here.
There is primitive camping available on weekends and holidays. The sites are available on a first come, first served basis and you choose your site when you arrive. You must have a camping permit to stay overnight. Permits are free and can be procured online from the FWC’s website.
There’s a wide variety of wildflowers, birds, and wildlife to see here. It’s easy to look and just see miles and miles of pine forest. But if you slow down and look a bit closer, you’ll see a whole world of life just waiting to be discovered. If you get a chance to visit, I’d love to see what you find. Tag me on Instagram @Rh_photoadventures to share. Happy adventuring!