Osceola National Forest
|Osceola National Forest|
IUCN category VI (protected area with sustainable use of natural resources)
|Nearest city||Olustee, FL|
|Area||190,932 acres (77,267 ha)|
|Established||July 10, 1931|
|Governing body||U.S. Forest Service|
The forest is made up of approximately 200,000 acres (810 km2) of pine flatwoods and cypress-hardwood swamps in northeastern Florida and is about 50 miles (80 km) west of Jacksonville. It is located in parts of Columbia, Baker, Bradford, and Hamilton counties. The forest is headquartered in Tallahassee, as are all three National Forests in Florida, but there are local ranger district offices located in Olustee. There is one officially designated wilderness area in the forest, the 13,660 acres (55.3 km2) Big Gum Swamp Wilderness.
Geography and ecology
A 23-mile (37 km) section of the Florida National Scenic Trail is included in the park grounds. Other hiking trails in the Park include: Olustee Battlefield Trail (an American Civil War battlefield), Trampled Track Trail, and Mt. Carrie Trail. There are two horseback riding trails through open pine flatwoods and near scenic bays. The park is also open to hunters and fishermen with permits.
- Ocean Pond Campground - Ocean Pond Campground is located on the north side of Ocean Pond, a 1,760-acre (7.1 km2) natural lake. Sixty-seven campsites are available for tents, trailers, or motor homes. Ocean Pond provides a variety of recreational experiences such as fishing, boating, water skiing and camping. A beach area, boat ramp, drinking water, hot showers, and flush toilets are located in the campground.
- The Landing Group Area - Available by reservation only, this is a 50 person private group area. Recreational activities include swimming, boating, camping, and picnicking. Facilities include a sand beach, boat launch for small boats, picnic shelter, large group grill, and restrooms with showers.
- Hunt Camps - Hunt camps include Hog Pen Landing, Cobb, Wiggins, West Tower, and East Tower. These are primitive camp sites.
- Table 6 - NFS Acreage by State, Congressional District and County - United States Forest Service - September 30, 2007
- Osceola Research Natural Area - National Natural Landmark
- Nelson, Gil (1995). Exploring Wild North Florida. Pineapple Press Inc. p. 244. ISBN 1-56164-091-3. OCLC 32746332.
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