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Florida state forests

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Florida's state forests are state forests overseen by the Florida Forest Service. There are 35 state forests in Florida covering more than 1,058,000 acres.[1] The first state forest in Florida was Pine Log State Forest, established on 6,960 acres in 1936. Cary State Forest was established in 1937.[2] Blackwater River State Forest and Withlacoochee State Forest were added in the late 1950s and early 1960s.[1]

Florida began large land purchase and preservation efforts in the late 1970s and management focus shifted from timber and wildlife focuses to a "multiple land use management ethic" including "conservation of natural and cultural resources, wildlife management, protection of water resources, and outdoor recreation."[1]

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  • ✪ A Celebration of Wilderness, National Forests in Florida


Like most of the ecosystems in Florida, the pine flatwoods in the Osceola National Forest Big Gum Swamp Wilderness needs fire to maintain the plant and animal species that live there. Even the interior swamp itself will burn in dry years. As stewards of the land, we conduct prescribed burns to mimic the natural role that fire plays in maintaining these ecosystems. Big Gum Swamp Wilderness is one that's close to large urban areas. Providing opportunities for solitude and primitive and unconfined recreation. This massive swamp embodies one of the deeper values of wilderness. Its inherent right to exist. To have value, in and of itself. Instead of some value defined by humans. As Wallace Stegner wrote, "We simply need that wilderness country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in." Juniper Prairie WIlderness is one of the jewels of the Ocala National Forest in central Florida. Its history, is the history of America settling of this country, captured so well in Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings book, "The Yearling" and the 1946 film based on the book starring Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman. The Florida National Scenic Trail traverses the wilderness from north to south, so you can experience the land as the first settlers did, with its areas dry prairies and wet prairies. Or, you can choose to paddle Juniper Creek seven miles through the wilderness. There are no facilities or designated camp sites in the wilderness of course, but there are lots of good sites especially on the prairies. And we encourage you to use them instead of creating a new camp site. Wilderness holds many values, including clean air, clean water and critical habitat for endangered species like the Florida Scrub Jay, who's narrow habitat requirements include the young scrub ecosystem endemic to Juniper Prairie Wilderness. Clear Lake is one of two wilderness study areas on the National Forests in Florida. While it's not technically a wilderness, we must manage it to protect the unique characteristics that congress recognized when it set it aside as a wilderness area. Unlike the seven areas on the forests, this one is not a swamp. It's a mixture of pine flatwoods, upland pine and oaks, and even has a small groundwater fed lake. One of the great aspect of this area, is that it's close to urban areas. So it offers a wonderful chance for us to escape the pressures of our busy lives and renew our spirits. To satisfy that biological urge to connect with nature. It was logged in the past and you can still the remnants of old woods roads, but one day and perhaps in our lifetime, it will become an enduring resource of wilderness. As Edward Abbey said, "Wilderness needs no defense, it only needs more defenders."


Florida state forests


Name Location
(of main entrance)
Belmore State Forest Clay County
Big Shoals State Forest Hamilton County
Blackwater River State Forest Milton
Carl Duval Moore State Forest Putnam County
Cary State Forest Bryceville
Charles H. Bronson State Forest Christmas
Cottage Hill State Forest Escambia County
Deep Creek State Forest St. Johns County
Etoniah Creek State Forest Florahome
Four Creeks State Forest Nassau County
Goethe State Forest Dunnellon
Holopaw State Forest Osceola County
Indian Lake State Forest Ocala
Jennings State Forest Middleburg
John M. Bethea State Forest Sanderson
Lake George State Forest DeLeon Springs
Lake Talquin State Forest Tallahassee
Lake Wales Ridge State Forest Frostproof
Little Big Econ State Forest Geneva
Matanzas State Forest St. Johns County
Myakka State Forest Bradenton
Newnans Lake State Forest Gainesville
Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest Felda
Plank Road State Forest Cody
Picayune Strand State Forest Collier County
Pine Log State Forest Ebro
Point Washington State Forest Santa Rosa Beach
Ralph E. Simmons Memorial State Forest Hilliard
Ross Prairie State Forest Marion County
Seminole State Forest Leesburg
Tate's Hell State Forest Carrabelle
Tiger Bay State Forest Daytona Beach
Twin Rivers State Forest Live Oak
Wakulla State Forest Wakulla County
Watson Island State Forest St. Johns County
Welaka State Forest Welaka
Withlacoochee State Forest Brooksville


  1. ^ a b c State Forests Florida Forest Service
  2. ^ Historical Timeline Florida State Forests Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
  3. ^ Current State Forest Management Plans Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Florida Forest Service website

See also

This page was last edited on 20 March 2019, at 22:37
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