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National Estuarine Research Reserves - Apalachicola

Safety Updates

Effective Feb. 6: It is now federal law that all persons on a tour boat, ferry or other RCP-provided watercraft within Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection (RCP) managed lands are required to wear a mask. RCP will comply with this order and continue efforts to provide for staff and visitor safety. Please review individual aquatic preserve and NERR pages for specific information for each location. As DEP reopens managed areas, the department will take measures to ensure the protection of staff and the public. During these phases of reopening, visitors should expect limited hours, capacity and amenities.

Initially, approximately six managed areas will reopen remote access trails, and beaches and boat ramps at the research reserves. Islands, beaches and submerged lands within the aquatic preserves will open in a manner consistent with local ordinances. Please refer to your local government web pages to identify any local restrictions.

The following areas that have been identified that can be reopened for day-use with limited risk to visitors and staff.


Trails & Remote Access

Boat & Kayak Launch

Beach Access

Millender Park, Eastpoint- Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve - - Yes (bay)
Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Trails, Eastpoint (Cat Point, Scipio Creek, Rodrigue Tract, Unit 4, Cape St. George Island) Yes - Yes
Nick's Hole Parcel- St. George Island (ANERR) Yes - No
St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve Trails (Heart and Deal Tracts) Yes Yes No
GTMNERR A1A Beach Access Points (Middle and South lots only. North Lot is closed for boardwalk repairs.) - - Yes
Guana Lake Dam, Boat Ramp, and Hiking Trails Yes Yes No
Shell Island Road (Rookery Bay) Yes Yes No

Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR) was designated in 1979. It is located in Franklin, Gulf and Calhoun counties, within one of the least populated coastal areas of the state. The Apalachicola River basin is only part of the larger Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River system (ACF), which drains an area covering approximately 19,600 miles, extending into the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Florida portion contains about 2,800 square miles, and the population within Florida's basin is probably less than 100,000 individuals.

The boundary of ANERR includes the lower 52 miles of the Apalachicola River and floodplain, as well as most of Apalachicola Bay. It includes lands managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida Park Service, Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD) and the Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection. Of the uplands acreage within ANERR, the Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection manages 6,794 acres, the USFWS manages 11,938 acres (St. Vincent Island National Wildlife Refuge), the Florida Park Service manages 2,024 acres (St. George Island State Park), FWC manages 63,814 acres and NWFWMD manages 36,241 acres. The balance of the total acreage is open water, including Apalachicola Bay Aquatic Preserve (80,875 acres).

The Apalachicola National Research Reserve is also a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, an internationally designated protected area meant to demonstrate a balanced relationship between people and nature.

Location: Franklin, Liberty and Calhoun counties

Acreage: 234,715 acres

Jenna Harper, Manager
Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Environmental Education and Training Center
108 Island Drive
Eastpoint, FL 32328

Events & Public Notices

None available at this time.


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