Buck Lake Conservation Area

About this property

The Buck Lake property consists of natural woodlands and wetlands that have been used historically for pine and hardwood timber production and cattle ranching. The ridge found in the eastern part of the property supports scrubby flatwoods and oak hammock that provide appropriate habitat for Florida scrub-jays. The property protects regionally significant habitat for several plant and animal species and provides floodwater retention to slow downstream flooding. The Buck Lake property is located at the northern end of the Upper St. Johns River Basin Project, a joint project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide flood protection, enhance water resources and protect ecological functions in the river’s headwaters.

One of the special highlights of this property is its 15 distinct natural community (ecosystem) types ranging from high dry sandy scrub to expansive wet floodplains. It is the most ecologically diverse property in the district’s south-central region. It also has some very unique inland salt flats along the St. Johns River floodplain that are relics of an ancient saltwater past when sea levels were much higher, and Florida was a very different landscape. Today these types of salt flats are rare this far inland.

In addition, a basin swamp community dominates the eastern third of the property. This swamp and depression marsh receive surface water runoff from adjacent uplands and discharge into a wet prairie that makes up the headwaters of Six Mile Creek. The creek runs southward to Salt Lake, Loughman Lake and eventually to the St. Johns River. The western portion of the property features a large floodplain marsh and a marsh lake, Buck Lake. The property includes almost 30 miles of trails.

Wildlife viewing

Please respect Florida’s wildlife and use caution while visiting district lands. These are wild animals. For your safety, do not approach or feed any wild animal. Wildlife seen on the property include scrub-jays, gopher tortoise, bald eagles, otter, deer, woodpeckers, owls, bobcats, alligators, turkey, herons, egrets and foxes.

Recreational activities

Seasonal hunting, hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, fishing, wildlife viewing and primitive camping at designated sites.


Northeast of Orlando. For details and to get driving directions from your location, see the Google Maps link on this page.