If you’ve ever wanted to explore the woods, with a guide, your golden opportunity is Saturday, April 28, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the 15th annual “Welcome to the Woods” event at Seminole Forest Wildlife Management Area in Lake County.
Space for this popular event is limited; participants must register in advance by calling the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at 352-732-1225. Participants should arrive by 9 a.m. the day of the event.
The FWC and the Florida Forest Service (formerly the Florida Division of Forestry) started Welcome to the Woods 15 years ago as a way to introduce people to all the things they can do on a wildlife management area. The one-day program continues to attract a crowd and offers a great opportunity for people of all ages to get out into the woods and enjoy a guided tour of nature’s pleasures. Participants can learn to fish at Bear Pond, shoot a bow and arrow, hike along the Florida National Scenic Trail, enjoy a hayride to Blackwater Creek, learn safe boating practices, and take a short canoe trip along the creek.
In addition, there will be educational wildlife exhibits, including live snakes; and a program on how prescribed fire benefits the state’s ecosystems. A state helicopter used as part of the controlled burning process is featured.
Participants should wear clothing suitable for light hiking, and bring bug spray, sun protection, snacks and water.
The Seminole Forest Wildlife Management Area is located on State Road 46 just west of the Wekiva River in Lake County.