Ocala National Forest
Distinctive as the oldest national forest east of the Mississippi River, the Ocala National Forest is also the southernmost forest in the nation. Covering 383,000 acres in northeast Florida, the Ocala offers a wealth of water-oriented recreation opportunities, and numerous forest lakes and grassy ponds provide some of the state's best bass fishing. Hiking trails, ranging from one to seven miles long, include a section of the Florida National Scenic Trail.
What We Are Doing
After becoming part of the Ocala National Forest, slash pine trees were established on an area adjacent to the community of Astor, Florida. Over time, fire and southern pine beetles eventually killed off the pines over a 250-acre area. To help in the effort to restore the area to its native Longleaf pine ecosystem, we are planting 31,585 Longleaf pine trees in this area of the Ocala.
By planting this native species, we are helping lower the risk of damaging wildfires and infestation by insects such as the southern pine beetle. These trees will also provide habitat to many species of wildlife – including threatened and endangered species – that thrive in longleaf pine forests.