Plan an outdoor adventure at the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed

Posted 3/12/24

Spring will soon be in full bloom, ushering in longer days, warmer weather and changing...

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Plan an outdoor adventure at the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed


Spring will soon be in full bloom, ushering in longer days, warmer weather and changing landscapes across Florida’s great outdoors. The Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) in Southwest Florida offers numerous recreational opportunities for those looking to enjoy the sunshine and explore vibrant springtime landscapes.

Did you know CREW is known for its spring wildflowers and distinct natural communities, including marsh, cypress and maple swamp, oak hammock and pine flatwoods? Take advantage of Daylight Saving Time and the extra hour of sunlight to explore over 40 miles of trails across CREW’s four unique trail systems.

CREW is the largest intact watershed of its kind in the region, spanning more than 70,240 acres in both Lee and Collier counties. This important watershed provides natural flood protection, water purification and critical aquifer recharge, while also serving as important habitat for animal species such as the endangered Florida panther, snail kite and wood stork.

CREW offers recreational opportunities for visitors of all ages, including hiking, biking, camping, geocaching and more. Trail systems include:

• CREW Marsh Trails: Explore five miles of interconnected loops with views of open pine flatwoods, seasonal ponds, sawgrass marshes and shady oak hammocks. An observation tower offers a bird’s eye view of the 5,000-acre Corkscrew marsh.
• Cypress Dome Trails: Stroll along 6.5 miles of trails as they pass through scrubby flatwoods, mixed oak/pine forest, two cypress domes, and seasonally wet popash slough.
• Bird Rookery Swamp Trails: Enjoy 12 miles of hiking and biking trails, including a 1,400-foot boardwalk with wheelchair accessibility. The maple-cypress swamp is home to alligators, otters, Florida panthers, bobcats, white-tailed deer and many birds, including short-tailed hawks, swallow-tailed kites, and many songbirds and wading birds.
• Trails at Flint Pen Strand: Trek through a several trails and keep an eye out for fox squirrels, white-tailed deer, bobcats, otters, swallow-tailed kites and bald eagles.

The SFWMD manages the land to restore water flow, remove invasive plants and animals, re-plant native vegetation and create opportunities for public recreation. The SFWMD partners with the CREW Land & Water Trust to provide the majority of public education and outreach programs, as well as research and monitoring; and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission provides law enforcement and wildlife management on the CREW properties.

We encourage you to visit to learn more about all of the recreational activities available to you on SFWMD-managed lands.

Get out there, explore, and remember to #RecreateResponsibly.

sfwmd, corkscrew, watershed, recreation, trails, biking camping