Located between AR Hwy. 35 and U.S. Highway 278 East, this Wildlife Management Area is a true wetland ecosystem, composed almost totally of cypress, tupelo, buttonbush, locust and willow trees.
Access to the west side and the parking area: Take state highway 35 southeast from Monticello for approximately 12 miles. A green WMA sign is located here on the North of the roadside at Selma-Collins road. Turn left here and goes 2 miles to the parking area. Currently, there are no campsites available.
Seven Devils Swamp Natural Area is located along Cut-off Creek at the point where the creek flows from the pine-covered hills of the Coastal Plain to the flat lowlands of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. Farther downstream, the area is almost permanently flooded, supporting a diverse swamp community. High-quality forested canebrakes are interspersed throughout the area. The natural area lies within the Seven Devils Swamp Wildlife Management Area and is co-managed with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission.
Seven Devils WMA is part of a 6,000 acre swamp located in Drew County. 512 acres are owned by the AGFC the remainder is owned mostly by Georgia-Pacific Corp. and other private individuals. The portion owned by Georgia-Pacific is in the land lease system known as the Casey Jones WMA. For more information regarding hunting in Seven Devils Swamp please call the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at 870-367-3559.
Recreation Other Than Hunting
Fishing on the area in the spring is considered good. Species include; bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish. By summer, water levels are too low for good fishing. The swamp has a breeding population of anhingas, great blue herons, little green herons and American herons. There are occasional sightings of eagles in the fall and winter. There are some alligators present on the area.
The area has about eight miles of boat trails, marked by reflective clips on trees. Meandering through the swamp by boat, visitors can see abundant wildlife and areas of the swamp that are still primeval in appearance.
The area also provides excellent opportunities for birdwatchers and photographers but visitors should use caution while navigating the swampy bottom.
It is very easy to get lost and the swamp has an abundant supply of water snakes, like cottonmouth, as well as bear and alligator.
How’d it get its name?
There are a number of tales about how the swamp got its name, most of which involve someone getting lost. One tale, recounted in Bill James’ book Seven Tales From The Seven Devils, tells of a fur trapper, who after getting lost in the swamp, called the seven lakes within the swamp, “devils.” Asked if there were really seven lakes in the swamp, the fur trapper is reported to have said, “Seven lakes? Do you call them lakes? Those aren’t lakes! They grab ahold of your very soul and hold it captive! Seven lakes, you say? More like seven devils!”
The name, according to Rebecca DeArmond’s book Old Times Not Forgotten, stems from the seven lakes and use of the remote rough and swampy bottom by fugitives in Civil War days. Others say the swamp was named after the seven lakes because “they’re a devil to get to” or named after seven bridges within the swamp because “they were a devil to cross.” Former Drew County Sheriff David Taylor Hyatt dismisses all the folklore but concedes that it probably did get its name for the seven lakes in the swamp.
“It’s kind of a spooky place,” said Tom Heflin, an Illinois artist and former Drew County resident whose painting “Ghost of Seven Devils” was inspired by his childhood memories of the swamp, a wildlife haven for alligators, bear, blue heron, green heron, cranes, water turkey, fox, mink, raccoon, snakes, beaver, otter, turtles, water turkeys, eagles, squirrels, ducks, deer and other species. (credit: Patty Wooten, searktoday.com)