Tate's Hell
Wildlife Management Area

Tate's Hell WMA 2016-2017 Regulations Brochure

As the name implies, there's a story behind this place. This version is from the Florida State Forest website: 

The Legend of TATE'S HELL...

A tale that has been told for many years recounts how Tate's Hell Swamp got its name.

Local legend has it that a farmer by the name of Cebe Tate, armed with only a shotgun and accompanied by his hunting dogs, journeyed into the swamp in search of a panther that was killing his livestock. Although there are several versions of this story, the most common describes Tate as being lost in the swamp for seven days and nights, bitten by a snake, and drinking from the murky waters to curb his thirst. Finally he came to a clearing near Carrabelle, living only long enough to murmur the words, "My name is Cebe Tate, and I just came from Hell!" Cebe Tate's adventure took place in 1875 and ever since, the area has been known as Tate's Hell, the legendary and forbidden swamp. 

Hunting in Tate's Hell can be an adventure. When you travel down the highways and see the bear crossing signs, you can be sure they mean it! However, if you're willing to get in amongst 'em [the bears], this can be a mecca for deer and turkey if you put in some time hunting and tracking. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says that Tate’s Hell WMA extends over more than 187,700 acres in Franklin and Liberty counties near Carrabelle. It is bordered by Highway 98 on the south and Apalachicola National Forest to the north and west. The wildlife management area is part of the close to 200,000-acre Tate’s Hell State Forest. 

In the 1960s and 1970s the previous owners developed this area as a commercial forest, digging drainage ditches and building roads that significantly altered the hydrology of the forest. In the early 1990s the state began purchasing the land to protect Apalachicola Bay. Since then, the Division of Forestry has prescribe burned most of the pinelands, re-established the native longleaf pine over a major portion of the forest, and worked to restore large areas of grassy savannahs. 

Several stands of the distinctive "dwarf" cypress exist on the forest. Visit the Ralph G. Kendrick viewing tower to observe these unusual trees. To reach the viewing tower, from US Highway 98, go north on US Highway 65 for six miles, turn right onto North Road. The boardwalk will be on your right, 3.4 miles down North Road. The High Bluff Coastal Hiking Trail may be accessed off of US Highway 98, four miles west of Carrabelle. 

Tate’s Hell is home to many wildlife species including a large population of Florida black bears, bald eagles, and red-cockaded woodpeckers. The terrain is wet and boggy, and many roads require four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Biking and horseback riding are allowed on any open road in the forest unless posted otherwise. Camping is permitted only at designated campsites by permit from the Division of Forestry. The New River, Crooked River, and Whiskey George Creek offer boating, fishing and paddling opportunities. This area is a site on the Great Florida Birding Trail. 

The Northwest Florida Water Management District is implementing extensive restoration within the Tate's Hell State Forest. Click for information regarding Tate's Hell Restoration Plan. 

Tate's Hell - Womack Creek WMA Information
Florida Forestry Service - Tate's Hell

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