Open every Friday-Sunday through June 25th, 2017 from 9:00-4:00 p.m (closed June 3-4th for a hunt). Visitor center phone number is 239-657-1999 (Friday-Sunday).
Trails are open every Friday-Sunday through June 25, 2017 (closed June 3-4th for a hog hunt).
Sign up now for a free Master Naturalist guided hike of selected trails at the Pepper Ranch Preserve! Hikes are limited to 20 persons with 2 guides. Call 239-252-2961 for more information. For hike dates, click here!
Mountain Bike Trails:
Trails are open every Friday-Sunday through June 25th, 2017 (closed June 3-4th for a hog hunt).
The first phase of trails are complete (6 miles), we are seeking volunteers to help maintain the current trails and to continue to build additional trails. See Bike Trail Map Click here for information on our Mountain Bike Volunteer Group (you do not need to be a member to volunteer)
Horseback Riding Trails:
Trails are open every Friday- Sunday through June 25, 2017 (closed June 3-4th for a hog hunt). Riders must bring Coggin's test papers to the visitor center. We are also seeking volunteers to help with trail marking and maintenance. Please call 239-657-1999 for more information.
Tent camping is available November-June on Friday and Saturday nights (we are closed June 3-4th for a hunt). We have a bathroom facility with showers. For more information or to reserve, contact Immokalee Community Park at 239-252-4449 or contact North Collier Regional Park at 239-252-4060. To find park locations, go to this website: http://www.colliergov.net/index.aspx?page=356. Please call the visitors center Friday through Sunday at 239-657-1999 for additional information. Click on the following links for CAMPGROUND MAP and CAMPGROUND RULES.
click here for: Directions from I-75 and Immokalee Road
click here for: Directions from I-75 and Corkscrew Road
Click map to download
Manager Contact Information: Christal Segura
Preserve Size: 2,512 acres
Date Acquired: February 6, 2009
Cost of Acquisition: $32,525,080
See the Pepper Ranch Hunt Program Page for more information and Hunt Program materials.
Available printed materials:
Public Access Facilities:
The preserve is open to the public on all Fridays and on non-hunt Saturdays and Sundays from November- June from 9:00 A.M.- 4:00 P.M. (the preserve will be closed on hunting weekends for safety reasons). Public will be welcome to hike, picnic, bird-watch and take a scenic drive through the preserve after obtaining a free daily use permit from the visitor's center. Public restrooms are available at the ranch.
The picnic pavilion (pole barn) is available for rent on days that the preserve is open to the public. The visitor center is available to rent for meetings on Thursdays from 9-3:30. Call (239) 252-4449 for more information.
Plants and Wildlife:
Ten types of intact native plant communities are documented on the property, including woodland pasture, pine flatwoods, upland and wetland hardwood forests, oak-cabbage palm forest, cypress, freshwater marsh and wet prairie. Wildlife observed on the ranch includes sandhill cranes, caracara, American kestrels, wood storks, numerous wading bird species, bald eagles, Big Cypress fox squirrels, black bear, Florida panther, deer, hog, muskrat and alligators.
The Pepper Ranch Preserve was an outstanding nomination that met all of the criteria Conservation Collier uses to evaluate potential acquisitions. These criteria include those relating to protection of water resources, preservation of biological values, including presence of unique and endangered plant communities and wildlife, potential for nature base recreation and education, and how a property fits in with the larger matrix of County lands to provide a buffer for, corridor to or ecological link with other conservation lands.
Acquisition of the ranch offered multiple opportunities for protection of water resources, including recharge of aquifers, protection of wetland dependent species habitat, protection of the Corkscrew swamp and marsh complex and protection of wetlands associated with Lake Trafford. Located within the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed, the property adjoins more than 42,000 public and private acres already held in conservation status and further protects the Corkscrew Marsh, the headwaters for Collier County’s drinking water supplies.
At least ten (10) distinct types of vegetation communities exist on the ranch, including vast oak forests, untouched cypress strands, and freshwater marshes teeming with plant and animal life.
In addition to its many environmental attributes, there are historical and archeological features to the ranch. This beautiful property had been a farm, hunting grounds, cattle ranch, fishing camp and home for one local family since 1926, until it was sold to Collier County in 2009 and provides a living window into local history. It also borders Lake Trafford, the largest natural lake in Collier County and the location of early settlements by Native Americans. Artifacts discovered in and around the lake have been dated to 550 A.D.
Management goals at the Pepper Ranch Preserve include the following: eliminating or significantly reducing human impacts to indigenous flora and fauna, developing a baseline monitoring program, removing or controlling populations of invasive, exotic or problematic flora and fauna, creating a prescribed fire plan, restoring native vegetation, developing a plan for public use, facilitating use of the site for appropriate recreational and educational purposes, providing a plan for security and disaster preparedness and establishing a panther conservation bank to reduce costs of mitigation for County projects.