The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) acquires lands for the conservation and protection of the water and water-related resources, including lakes, rivers, wetlands and estuaries. These conservation lands serve as natural filters improving water quality, storing and retaining flood waters and helping recharge our aquifers. They also are home to many native plants and animals.
The District is required to maintain a balance between public access, general public recreation, and the restoration and protection of the lands’ natural state and condition. Nearly all District-owned lands are open for public use and the recreational activities allowed varies by property. The allowable activities are identified at WaterMatters.org/Recreation.
The District’s Weekiwachee Preserve is more than 11,000 acres and includes miles of river front property along the Weeki Wachee River. The Weekiwachee Preserve and the Weeki Wachee River are popular recreation areas. Due to the growing public concern of people engaging in activities that threaten public safety or welfare, the District has given the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission trespass authorization for the Weekiwachee Preserve, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and Bayport Park per Florida Statute 810.09. This authorization allows both agencies to warn, issue a citation or arrest any person who is engaged in activities that threaten public safety or welfare on these properties. Some examples include, but are not limited to, jumping from trees into the water and swimming or boating in non-designated areas.
The District encourages the use of its recreational areas. Learn more about the various outdoor activities available on our lands. You may also download or order a free hard copy of the Recreational Guide to Southwest Florida Water Management District Lands.