Safety on the Eglin Reservation
We have a number of plants, animals and man-made objects that can cause you some unconfortable moments if you are not observant. It is a very good idea to carry a first aid kit with you while visting the Eglin reservation, especially if you have children along with you.
Public Access Map (PAM)
With the increased scope and complexity of military training/testing operations, all or portions of the Eglin reservation are subject to more frequent closures. To provide a graphical representation of daily public access restrictions of otherwise open recreation areas, Eglin Natural Resources Office developed the PAM. All individuals must review the PAM prior to entering the Eglin reservation. Compliance with this requirement is mandatory. Click to view the map: PAM
Avenza Phone App
The reservation is large, remote, and sometimes difficult to access. It is quite easy to become disoriented on the hundreds of miles that makeup the reservation road system. While the Outdoor Recreation, Hunting, and Freshwater Fishing Regulations booklet has maps of the reservation they only help if you know your location. The reservation road system is marked with three foot high 4X4 posts at intersections with the road number on the sides of the post. These numbers correspond to the roads maps in the booklet. However, the easiest way to know your location on the reservation is to down load the Avenza appt on your android or iphone. Once you have the app on your phone you can download a GPS enabled reservation map that will show you your current location. With this app you know your location at all times.. Instructional information is in the Outdoor Recreation, Hunting, and Freshwater Fishing Regulations booklet.
WARNING: Unexploded Ordnance (UXO). The Eglin reservation has been supporting military testing and training since 1939. Persons who are permitted access to the reservation are hereby warned they may encounter unexploded ordnance (bullets, bombs, rockets, flares, etc.) in the areas that are open for public recreation. This UXO may be on the surface, or they may be partially or completely buried. Report the location and description of the UXO to one of the following: Eglin Security Forces (882-2000), Jackson Guard (882-4165 or 4166), Eglin Consolidated Command Post (883-4020) or 911 (inform them you are on the Eglin reservation)..
- DO NOT APPPROACH IT
- DO NOT TOUCH IT
- DO NOT DISTRUB IT
- DO NOT USE RADIOS NEAR IT
- DO NOT USE CELL PHONES NEAR IT
- MARK THE AREA
- LEAVE THE AREA
- REPORT IT
IF IT LOOKS MAN MADE AVOID IT!!
You can see our UXO safety video by viewing our Safety Brief.
Fire is an important natural ecosystem process. It balances and renews vegetation and soil nutrients. Our ecosystems on the Eglin reservation require fire, and we use prescribed fire to burn 90,000 to 100,000 acres per year as an important management tool.
Checking the PAM daily will help you avoid closed areas where burning is taking place.
To learn more about fire on the landscape, we've linked these excellent articles:
Krista Schlyer http://kristaschlyer.com/about/, (c) 2015 American Forest Foundation www.woodlandmagazine.org
John M. Diaz, www.southernfireexchange.org
Jim Cox and Brent Widener, www.talltimbers.org
Flora & Fauna Safety:
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE Do Not Feed Our Wildlife. Individuals who feed the wildlife are making the animal associate food with people. When these animals come up to get food and there is none there quite often is conflict between the wildlife and the humans and the animal always comes out on the losing end in the long run.
All wildlife and plant species on the Eglin reservation are protected. Please report any wildlife harrassment to the Natural Resources Office or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Poison-ivy/Cactus/Thorny Vines - Wear appropriate clothing when in the field. Lightweight moisture-wicking fabrics are usually enough to protect your skin from contacting poison-ivy oils and offer some protection against thorns and spines. Watch what you touch and where you sit or put things on the ground. Poison-ivy oils can spread from clothing and shoes to your skin by touch. Washing clothes with laundry detergent is usually enough to cut the oils, but in the field the best thing to do is to avoid exposure. Some wipes and lotions are available to reduce the effects of the oils, and can be purchased at any local pharmacy. You can apply most of these in the field without water and as-needed. Cactus spines are often overlooked when they are small and hair-like. If you come in contact with spines, you can usually remove the smallest and hardest to see ones by using masking tape.
Fire Ants/Wasps/Bees - Keep your eyes open for fire ant nests and do not disturb the nest. Some bees and wasps will create nests in trees, while others are ground-nesting. Watch where you walk and avoid brushing against vegetation where a nest may be hidden on the backside of leaves or on the underside of a branch. You should know if you are allergic to stings and carry appropriate medical supplies. Notify others in your group of your allergy and have them help you avoid any risky situations.
Ticks/Mosquitoes - Ticks and mosquitoes are present year-round in Florida and can transmit diseases. Bite prevention and tick removal can reduce the risk of disease. Wear appropriate clothing (tucked-in and buttoned-up shirts, light-colored fabric to spot ticks), and apply insect-repellent directly to uncovered skin to repel ticks and mosquitoes. It takes ticks several hours of feeding to transmit disease, so quick removal is important. Check your skin when you return from the field and remove any ticks promptly. Parents should pay special attention to their children as children are most at-risk for tick and mosquito bites.
You can learn more by clicking on the following links:
CDC Mosquito Bite Prevention
CDC Lyme Disease Fact Sheet
Venomous Snakes - The Eglin reservation is home to three of the four species of venomous snakes found in the United States. Although most snakes in northwest Florida are non-venomous (harmless) and most venomous snakes are not aggressive, you should take care to avoid encountering them. Watch your feet to avoid stepping on snakes, check the ground around you before sitting or putting gear down. Venomous snakes on Eglin are species that prefer being on the ground (not in the trees). Most snakes will avoid human encounters by fleeing or hiding. If you spot a snake, give it time to get away. If the snake appears to be "chasing" you, go a different direction because many snakes remember where safe burrows and hiding spots are, and they want to return to that spot to avoid you. If the snake hides, and most of the venomous snakes on Eglin prefer to hide in leaf litter or under vegetation, let it stay hidden and give it space. Do not approach venomous snakes.
ALL WILDLIFE ON EGLIN RESERVATION ARE PROTECTED, INCLUDING VENOMOUS SNAKES.
This snake is NON-VENOMOUS!! It is a black racer, and it eats mostly frogs, lizards, and other snakes.
Alligators - Alligators are common in the southeast. They are usually found in water, although you may encounter them basking on stream banks and shorelines, or travelling overland. Do not approach alligators, always give them space.
Nuisance Wildlife (Raccoons, Opossums, Feral Cats and Dogs, Feral Hogs) - DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE! Feeding wildlife causes them to become ill. It also spreads disease and causes animals to become more aggressive. Sick or aggressive wildlife can harm visitors. If you notice wildlife that is behaving strangely, notify the Natural Resources Office 850 882-4165 or the FWC.
Rabid Animals - Wildlife on the Eglin reservation are wild and may potentially carry the rabies virus. You should make sure that your pets are vaccinated, and avoid contact with animals that are behaving strangely. Notify the Eglin Natural Resources Office or the FWC where and when you observed the animal behaving strangely. DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE! Approaching wild animals can put you at risk for contacting any disease that they might carry. Rabies is transmitted through bites or scratches, even small cuts that you may not think are serious. In Florida, wild animal rabies cases are most often from raccoons, foxes and bats, but domestic pets infect more humans than any wild animals (which is why it is important to vaccinate your pets). If you have been bitten or scratched by an animal on the Eglin reservation, wash the area with soap and water, then contact a local health care provider.
Click on the following link to learn more:
Florida Health Rabies Fact Sheet