Apalachicola National Forest
Apalachicola pond.JPG
Map showing the location of Apalachicola National Forest
Map showing the location of Apalachicola National Forest
LocationFlorida, USA
Nearest cityTallahassee, FL
Coordinates30°14′10″N 84°39′56″W / 30.23611°N 84.66556°W / 30.23611; -84.66556Coordinates: 30°14′10″N 84°39′56″W / 30.23611°N 84.66556°W / 30.23611; -84.66556
Area632,890 acres (2,561.2 km2)[1]
CreatedMay 13, 1936 (May 13, 1936)[2]
Governing bodyU.S. Forest Service
WebsiteApalachicola National Forest

The Apalachicola National Forest is the largest U.S. National Forest in the state of Florida. It encompasses 632,890 acres (988.89 sq mi; 2,561.2 km2)[1] and is the only national forest located in the Florida Panhandle. The National Forest provides water and land-based outdoors activities such as off-road biking, hiking, swimming, boating, hunting, fishing, horse-back riding, and off-road ATV usage.[3]

Apalachicola National Forest contains two Wilderness Areas: Bradwell Bay Wilderness and Mud Swamp/New River Wilderness. There are also several special purpose areas: Camel Lake Recreation Area, Fort Gadsden Historical Site, Leon Sinks Geological Area, Silver Lake Recreation Area, Trout Pond Recreation Area, and Wright Lake Recreation Area. In descending order of forest land area it is located in parts of Liberty, Wakulla, Leon, and Franklin counties. [1] The forest is headquartered in Tallahassee, as are all three National Forests in Florida, but there are local forest ranger district offices located in Bristol and Crawfordville.

Hunting and fishing

Hunting and fishing are monitored and governed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The national forest itself is a wildlife management area. The FWC divides the management area into sections that allow dog hunting, still hunting, and private property. Modern gun season for large game starts Thanksgiving weekend and ends in January.[4]

The Apalachicola National Forest also manages the Chipola Experimental Forest in Calhoun county in cooperation with the FWC,[5] for youth hunting.[6]


The Apalachicola National Forest is in the southeastern conifer forests ecoregion. Areas of the national forest with dry, sandy soils support Florida longleaf pine sandhills and east Gulf coastal plain near-coast pine flatwoods. Sandhills are woodlands dominated by longleaf pine (Pinus palustris). Pine flatwoods are forests and woodlands on broad, sandy flatlands. Both of these pine communities are sustained by frequent fires.[7]

Near the floodplains of spring-fed rivers grow southern coastal plain hydric hammocks, dense forests of evergreen and deciduous hardwood trees. Blackwater rivers support southern coastal plain blackwater river floodplain forests of baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) along their banks. Major rivers support diverse east Gulf coastal plain large river floodplain forests.[7]

Notable animals that inhabit this forest are red-cockaded woodpecker, fox squirrel, red fox, raccoon, gray fox, bobcat, coyote, black bear, wild turkey and alligator.

It is also home to several wetland plant communities. Southern coastal plain nonriverine basin swamps are large, seasonally flooded depressions of baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) and swamp tupelo (Nyssa biflora). East Gulf coastal plain savannas and wet prairies are low, flat plains covered in grasses and sedges, which are seasonally flooded and maintained by frequent fires. Southern coastal plain nonriverine cypress domes are small wetlands of pond cypress (Taxodium ascendens) notable for their dome-shaped appearance.[7]

The Forest contains thousands of acres of old growth Pond Cypress swamps (cypress domes). In addition, Bradwell Bay Wilderness contains about 100 acres (40 ha) of old-growth Slash Pine - Swamp Tupelo swamps.[8]


See also


  1. ^ a b "Land Areas of the National Forest System" (PDF). U.S. Forest Service.
  2. ^ Proclamation 2169, 49 Stat. 3516 (May 13, 1936).
  3. ^ "Apalachicola National Forest".
  4. ^ Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
  5. ^ Hoyle, Zoë (12 June 2014). "The Chipola Experimental Forest". United States Forest Service Southern Research Station. Archived from the original on 2020-11-21. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  6. ^ "Juniper Creek Wildlife Management Area". Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Archived from the original on 2020-11-21. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "Land Cover Viewer - Map". National Gap Analysis Program. United States Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 19 February 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  8. ^ Mary Byrd Davis (23 January 2008). "Old Growth in the East: A Survey. Florida" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 February 2009. Retrieved 2008-12-31.