Florida State Forests

Florida State Forests
In addition to its 4 national forests, Florida is home to 37 state forests covering a total area of over 1,070,000 acres (1,672 square miles or 433,014 hectares). Here, in alphabetical order, is a list of Florida’s state forests, each of which has its own individual website:

  1. Belmore
  2. Big Shoals
  3. Blackwater River
  4. Carl Duval Moore
  5. Cary
  6. Charles H. Bronson
  7. Deep Creek
  8. Etoniah Creek
  9. Four Creeks
  10. Goethe
  11. Holopaw
  12. Indian Lake
  13. Jennings
  14. John M. Bethea
  15. Lake George
  16. Lake Talquin
  17. Lake Wales Ridge
  18. Little-Big Econ
  19. Matanzas
  20. Myakka
  21. Newnans Lake
  22. Okaloacoochee Slough
  23. Peace River
  24. Picayune Strand
  25. Pine Log
  26. Plank Road
  27. Point Washington
  28. Ralph E. Simmons
  29. Ross Prairie
  30. Seminole
  31. Tate's Hell
  32. Tiger Bay
  33. Twin Rivers
  34. Wakulla
  35. Watson Island
  36. Welaka
  37. Withlacoochee

Florida’s state forests are administered by the Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Its mission is to “to protect and maintain the biological diversity of the many ecosystems found in and around the state forests while integrating public use of the resources.”

Recreational Opportunities

Florida’s state forests offer a variety of outdoor recreation activities. Hunting and fishing are permitted in some of the units. Other activities include camping, wildlife viewing, horseback riding, cycling, boating, geocaching, and hiking.

Hikers can participate in the Trailwalker Program. To get started, pick 10 trails from a trail list in a minimum of 5 state forests. At the trailhead of each trail hiked, pick up a postage-paid survey card. Fill it out and mail it after completing the hike. Once you have completed all 10 trails, you will receive a sew-on patch and a certificate from the Forest Service. There are 3 additional levels to this program. After completing the Trailwalker challenge, you can advance to the next level, Trailblazer. There is also a similar program for equestrians, the Trailtrotter Program.

The 1,300-mile-long Florida National Scenic Trail is a federally-designated, non-motorized recreation trail that runs through 7 of the state forests. They are:

  • Blackwater River State Forest
  • C.H. Bronson State Forest
  • Etoniah Creek State Forest
  • Little Big Econ State Forest
  • Pine Log State Forest
  • Seminole State Forest
  • Withlacoochee State Forest

For those interested in wildlife viewing, many of the state forests are part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. For those who enjoy photography, the Forest Service holds a quarterly photo contest for pictures shot in the state forests.

Camping options in the state forests include both developed and primitive campgrounds. Reservations can be made online at: the Florida State Forests Reserve America website.

You Should Also Read:
Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT)

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