Myakka State Forest was purchased in 1995 as part of the Myakka Estuary Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL) project. The purchase was made using Preservation 2000 and Save Our Rivers funds.
The Florida Forest Service manages the forest for multiple uses, including timber, outdoor recreation, wildlife, and ecological and hydrological restoration. The Southwest Water Management District provided funding to purchase half of the state forest and is an important cooperator in the management of the property, especially in regard to hydrological management.
Myakka State Forest is located in southern Sarasota County approximately 10 miles southeast of Venice and 7 miles west of Port Charlotte. The majority of the forest falls within the city limits of North Port. Access is available off of River Road, about 11 miles south of I-75.
Myakka State Forest is made up primarily of mesic flatwoods with a mixture of longleaf pine and slash pine overstory with a palmetto understory. Numerous depression marshes are scattered throughout the flatwoods, providing many opportunities for viewing wading birds and other wildlife. The forest includes approximately 2.5 miles of frontage on the Myakka River, which is designated as an Outstanding Florida Water and a Wild and Scenic River. The Myakkahatchee Creek flows through the forest for 1.5 miles and provides an additional water resource.
Recreational opportunities on Myakka State Forest include camping, hiking, off-road bicycling, horseback riding, wildlife viewing and small-game hunting.
The streams on the forest provide a source for fishing, boating, canoeing and kayaking. Myakka State Forest contains two hiking trails (North Loop and South Loop) that are included in the Florida Forest Service's Trailwalker Hiking Program, as well as horse trails in the Trailtrotter Equestrian Program.
In keeping with its mission to protect and manage Florida's forest resources, the Florida Forest Service has developed rules that apply to all state forest visitors. Find out more about state forest fees and rules.
Myakka State Forest is managed for hunting and fishing as the Myakka Public Small Game Hunting Area (PSGHA) through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
FWC's Hunting Regulations
- Myakka Public Small Game Hunting Area Regulations Summary
- FWC's Recreational Hunting and Fishing Licenses and Permits
* State Forest Use Permit Required