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Wildlife Viewing > Historic Heartland > Baldwin State Forest Wildlife Management Area/Public Fishing Area

Baldwin State Forest Wildlife Management Area/Public Fishing Area

Description: This is a 2,500-acre tract located on the northern edge of the Coastal Plain. The site offers an opportunity to observe the upper limits of the longleaf pine habitat in the mid-state. The southernmost portion of the site is a very diverse wildlife viewing area, consisting of beaver ponds, wooded swamps, shrub swamps, and longleaf pine uplands. A number of the former beaver ponds and open marsh sites have reverted to shrub swamp heavily vegetated in alder and maple. In some openings, emergent needle rush is predominant; an area of open water remains, as well as a small portion of wooded swamp having black gum as the dominant overstory. A few acres of relict sand dune habitat exist on the extreme southwest corner with characteristic scrub oak overstory and sparse ground cover. The PFA consists of five ponds that encompass 51 acres of water, providing angling for channel catfish, largemouth bass, and bream. Several of the ponds are managed intensively for channel catfish. The layout of the area allows for very good fishing and wildlife viewing at the same time.

Viewing Information: A late summer afternoon is likely to produce several Mississippi kites soaring above the Baldwin PFA ponds. An occasional osprey may be seen fishing over the ponds and waterfowl of several species may stop for a rest during the winter months. Great blue herons, and snowy and common egrets are familiar sights but are most frequent in spring when they are also most handsome in their breeding plumage. Beaver ponds, shrubs, and wooded swamps offer more habitat variety but are generally very thick. Wood ducks, herons, egrets, beavers, raccoons, and cottonmouths may be found here. Late spring and fall migrant songbirds may be found in good numbers and variety. The small stand of longleaf pine offers an increasingly rare opportunity to experience a southern pine forest with its distinct aroma, sights, and sounds. These pines support pine siskins, Carolina wrens, and a wide variety of woodpeckers. The very small area of scrub oak presents the chance to observe another disappearing habitat, with associated wildlife species such as the gopher tortoise and eastern diamondback rattlesnake.

Directions: From Milledgeville travel south on US Hwy. 441. Go apx. 3 miles south of the GA Hwy. 243 intersection to the point where the highway crosses Little Black Creek. Follow signs to entrance of PFA.

Management: Georgia DNR, Wildlife Resources Division, 912-825-6151 (general information), 912-453-4200 (fishing area), 912-825-6354 (management area)

Closest Town: Milledgeville, GA

Additional Information: Milledgeville was the capitol of Georgia during the Civil War. The old governor's mansion, old State Capitol building, historic district featuring many pre-Civil War houses, Georgia College, Lake Sinclair, and other points of interest are located near the viewing site. Motels, restaurants, and shopping opportunities may also be found in Milledgeville.

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