BABCOCK RANCH PRESERVE
Once part of the historic Crescent B Ranch, the Babcock Ranch Preserve was purchased by the state of Florida and Lee County in 2006 in what was the single largest state conservation land acquisition in Floridas history.
The preserve was established to protect regionally important water resources diverse natural habitats scenic landscapes and historic, agricultural and cultural resources in the rapidly developing southwest Florida corridor.
On August 1, 2016, the Florida Forest Service began managing the Babcock Ranch Preserve as a working ranch while providing public recreational opportunities compatible with agricultural operations.
Current public access to the Babcock Ranch Preserve is available in the form of a hiking trail, an equestrian trail, and an eco-tour.
Public hunting access is permitted on a portion of the preserve and is administered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
For information about recreational and hunting and fishing licenses and permits, go to myfwc.com.
Babcock Ranch Preserve includes a variety of improved range and natural communities, including pinelands, dry prairie, cypress domes and cypress swamps.
Together with nearby conservation lands, the preserve provides habitat for wide-ranging species such as the Florida black bear and Florida panther and is home to the native wild turkey, white-tailed deer, northern bobwhite quail, crested caracara, gopher tortoise, red-cockaded woodpecker, eastern indigo snake and Florida burrowing owl.
A dominant feature on the landscape is Telegraph Swamp, a cypress strand swamp located on the western half of the property. The preserves wetlands contribute to aquifer recharge for southwestern Florida and help maintain the health of the western Everglades ecosystem, particularly the Caloosahatchee River and Charlotte Harbor Estuary.