**Updated 4/3/2020 - In partnership with the South Florida Water Management Directive to temporarily close public access to CREW Lands, the Collier County Caracara Prairie Preserve is temporarily closed to public visitors as of 6pm on Saturday, April 4, 2020. Updates about other Collier County Preserves will continue to be announced as they develop. Please continue to check this page for up to date information
Address/Location: 3980 CR 850 (Corkscrew Road), Immokalee, FL 34142. Access to the public hiking trails is through the CREW Cypress Dome Trailhead. The preserve parking area is a 15 minute drive east from Exit 123/Corkscrew Road on I-75.
Caracara Prairie Preserve is named for the federally-threatened crested caracara which nest and forage within the preserve and surrounding agricultural and conservation lands.
Manager Contact Information
Preserve Manager: Molly DuVall
Preserve Size: 367.7 acres
Date Acquired: December 17, 2007
Cost of Acquisition: $5,032,000. The preserve was acquired in partnership with the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) Trust, who contributed $300,000 towards the purchase price.
Public Access Status: The Caracara Prairie Preserve is open to the public from dawn till dusk. Visitors to the Caracara Prairie Preserve will park at the CREW Cypress Dome Trails and access the preserve trailhead via the 1 mile hike from the parking area. The Caracara Prairie Preserve “red” public hiking trail connects with the adjoining CREW Cypress Dome Trails approximately 1 mile from the CREW Cypress Dome Trails parking area off of Corkscrew Road. Recreational hunting opportunities are available at Caracara Prairie Preserve and managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) CREW Wildlife Environmental Area (CREW WEA). Dogs are not permitted at the preserve for the safety of the cattle and nesting wildlife.
Reason for Acquisition: This preserve was acquired to protect the existing native habitat, to provide surficial aquifer storage, to provide habitat for protected birds and mammals, to buffer and protect adjoining state-owned conservation lands, and to provide opportunities for at-cost restoration as a mitigation for County projects, in order to save taxpayers money.
Management goals: These include protection and restoration (as appropriate) of the native habitats on site, monitoring management actions as they affect the Florida panther, gopher tortoises, native vegetation and other wildlife, and providing appropriate nature-based recreation and educational opportunities for citizens and visitors.
Hunting: The preserve is part of the CREW Wildlife and Environmental Area (WEA) and will be regulated by FWC. Please go to http://myfwc.com/viewing/recreation/wmas/cooperative/crew or http://myfwc.org/hunting/wma-brochures/s/crew/ for more information.
Caracara Prairie Preserve is located off of Corkscrew Road on the boundary between Collier and Lee Counties.
Caracara Prairie Preserve Public Hiking Trails
A 2.5 mile loop takes visitors across cattle-strewn pastures, beneath shady canopies of cabbage palm forests and oak hammocks, along sweeping views of freshwater marshes dotted with wildflowers and the occasional white-tailed deer, and through fire-dependent pine flatwoods. The Caracara Prairie Preserve hiking trail is known as the red-loop and features a number of easy-to-use kissing gates throughout to help hikers enjoy the property with cattle fencing in place.
Trail maps are available on-site at the parking area kiosk.
Click here for an interactive trail map through Google Maps: Interactive Trail Map