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USA Parks
Florida
Northeast Region
Osceola National Forest
OSCEOLA NATIONAL FOREST
OSCEOLA NATIONAL FOREST
Nearly two hundred thousand acres of the original Florida are waiting to be explored in the Osceola National Forest. These forested woodlands and swamps provide many opportunities for a wide range of visitor experiences such as camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and many more. Some recreational activities require a pass or permit.

This "flatwoods" forest is a mosaic of low pine ridges separated by cypress and bay swamps. Visitors enjoy quiet, peaceful woodlands named in honor of the famous Seminole Indian warrior, Osceola.

Created by Presidential proclamation July 10, 1931, this new "forest" had been cutover and heavily burned. A management plan was developed that focused on establishing new growth through reforestation. Fire controls were implemented to ensure the survival of the young trees. During the 1940's a new concept, prescribed burning, was developed, and managed fires began to be used to reduce the fuels and lessen the threat of wildfire. In the 1960's, management in the USDA Forest Service national forests was expanded from managing primarily for timber production to include managing for range, water, recreation, and wildlife, with an emphasis on the "multiple use" of forest resources. Wise stewardship has left the Osceola National Forest with an abundance of natural and cultural resources. Today the forest is managed for multiple uses on an ecological basis with the mission of "Caring for the Land and Serving People."
Camping
Ocean Pond Campground

Ocean Pond Campground is located on the north side of Ocean Pond, a 1760-acre natural lake. Sixty-seven campsites are available for tents, trailers, or motor homes. Many of these campsites are waterfront sites allowing guests to enjoy the water or fish right from their campsite. A beach area, boat ramp, drinking water, hot showers, and flush toilets are located in the campground. No sewer hookups are available; however, a sewage dump station is located near the campground entrance. Electrical hookups are available at 19 of the sites. Fees vary from $8.00 to $18.00 depending on campsite.

Hunt Camps

Hunting is a very popular activity on the Osceola National Forest. General gun season runs from mid November to early January and during that time all camping is restricted to designated hunt camps and Ocean Pond Campground. A total of nine hunt camps are located on the forest and are open year round to the public. Two of the hunt camps have toilet and water facilities year round and toilets are provided at the remaining seven camps during the hunting season.

Primitive Camping

Primitive camping is allowed anywhere on the national forest except at Olustee Beach. However, camping is restricted to designated hunt camps and Ocean Pond Campground during hunting season. A primitive camp shelter is located along the Florida National Scenic Trail and is available on a first come first served basis.

Group camping

Large families and small groups will enjoy the secluded "Landing Group Area" which is available by reservation only. A maximum of 50 persons is allowed at this area where your group may enjoy swimming, boating, camping, picnicking, or just visiting with friends and family. Facilities include a sand beach, boat launch for small boats, picnic shelter, large group grill, and restrooms with showers. Reservation can be made by calling the Osceola Ranger District Office at (386) 752-2577. The fee is $50.00 per 24-hour period.


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Trails
Florida National Scenic Trail

A 23 mile section of the Florida National Scenic Trail meanders its way through the Osceola National Forest. There are 20 boardwalks located on this section of the hiking trail that offer a drier view of swamps and wetland habitat. A primitive camp shelter is located along the Florida National Scenic Trail and is available on a first come first served basis. The trail also passes through the Olustee Battlefield. Olustee Battlefield is a state Historic Site where Confederate soldiers pushed back Union troops in route to Tallahassee. A reenactment of this historic event is held each February.

Located at the Battlefield is an accessible portion of the Florida National Scenic Trail. The Nice Wander Loop Trail consists of 3 loops of 0.9 miles, 1.2 miles and 2.1 miles that are accessible with assistance. From the trailhead parking area the trail follows an old road past the fire tower and through an open picnic area of the Olustee Battlefield Museum. The trail then passes through lovely pine flatwoods to the top of the loop. Watch for the white-ringed trees indicating Red-Cockaded Woodpecker nesting sites.

Olustee Battlefield Trail

The Olustee Battlefield Trail lets you discover what life was like for soldiers who fought in the Battle of Olustee. This loop trail walks you through the events that led up to the battle, the tactics used during the battle, and the aftermath, all from personal accounts, diaries and letters from soldiers who fought in the battle.

Trampled Track Trail

A short .1-mile barrier-free historic trail is located at Olustee Beach. This trail shows the history of a sawmill and community that thrived along the shores of Ocean Pond at the turn of the century.

Mt. Carrie Trail

Visitors can stop at the Mt. Carrie Wayside and discover a new experience along the one-mile barrier free trail. This is a place where unique species such as the red-cockaded woodpecker and the gopher tortoise make their homes. One has to only search for sounds and enjoy the beauty while standing in this longleaf pine forest.
Things To Do in the Area
Riverscape Boat Tours LLC - Ocala, FLBoating
Ride silently on nature tours on the silver river. The most beautiful river in the world. We transport guests back in time to wild Florida as it was thousands of years ago - untouched and untamed. Sparkling clear water that has over a hundred feet visibility. Book the Silver River trip now as the boats fill fast.
Web Site: riverscapesboattours.com
79.8 miles from park*
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
November 13 long time unhappy hunter
the deer and hog hunting both are real bad. i think that is partially due to the fact that the timber companies have been allowed to cut down most of the hard woods that produce mast. thank you fwc for trapping and getting rid of the hogs. the only thing worth going there to hunt!!!!!
October 18 Camping is wonderful by Po camper
The 2 sets of camp host are promblematic. One is in everyone's business the other is real nice but will use you against the other host
July 26 Deer/Hog Hunting
Very low amount of deer and hog and so much land. I have hunted there the past two years and have only seen a handful of does and no hog. Love camping at ocean pond but hunting sucks. I can;t afford to hunt anywhere else so I am kind of stuck.
January 16 Deer/Hog Hunting by Wdavis
Although you have lots of room to roam so do the few deer and hogs. If you like very low game populations and room to roam, then this is the hunt for you.
September 2 hunting management
there are lots of deer, hogs ext... need to open doe permits du to the fact there are so many...


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USA Parks
Florida
Northeast Region
Osceola National Forest
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