The United States Congress designated the Billies Bay Wilderness (map
) in 1984 and it now has a total of 3,064 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Florida
and is managed by the Forest Service.
Floridians often refer to swamps as "bays," hence the name of this marshy Wilderness. Two-thirds of the area is a hardwood swamp of red maple, bay, loblolly pine, slash pine, sweet gum, and cabbage palm; the other third (the perimeter) is pine flatwoods dominated by longleaf and slash pine. Beneath this lies an understory of palmetto and gallberry. Small stands of scrub oak and sand pine are also interspersed throughout the flatwoods. The pristine quality of the swamp, a haven for many mammals and birds, made it a prime candidate for Wilderness designation. The swamp contributes to the headwaters of Alexander Springs Creek in the nearby Alexander Springs Wilderness. You won't find any trails or old roads here, but the Florida National Scenic Trail (which provides access to about 1,000 miles of the state) skirts the southwestern corner of the area.