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Map of Lake George State Forest
The Lake George State Forest is in the U.S.marker state of Floridamarker. The forest is located in Northwestern Volusia Countymarker, Floridamarker, near the communities of Sevillemarker and Piersonmarker.

Lake George State Forest is made up of three tracts of land. These consist mostly of slash pine, longleaf pine, bottomland hardwoods, and interspersed cypress and bay depressions. In 1998 nearly half the acreage of Lake George State Forest was damaged during the Firestorm wildfires. Restoration efforts included harvesting salvage timber and reforestation with longleaf pine and slash pine.

History

The Bluffton Mound and Midden at the Bluffton Recreation Area illustrate the rich archaeological history of the St. Johns River and Lake George area. For thousands of years early Florida Indians inhabited the area. Explorers of the 18th and 19th centuries first noticed the large mounds of freshwater shellfish that were created by the Indians. Later, the shell mounds attracted some of Florida's earliest archaeologists. Today, little of the mounds exist as most were excavated for material to build roads.

Past uses of Lake George State Forest include timber management, naval stores production, grazing and hunting. Prior to 1910, logging canals were dug through the swamps to remove cypress logs. In the 1930's much of the area was forested in longleaf pine and slash pine and used for cattle grazing. Starting in the 1960's, slash pine was planted as previous owners had aggressively harvested the forest.

Natural Features

Lake George State Forest is one of several publicly-owned tracts of land encircling Lake George, the second largest lake in Florida. The St. Johns River borders 3 1⁄2 miles of the forest and provides a wealth of ecologically valuable communities as well as river-based recreation. The surrounding landscape of the forest contributes to water resource protection of the Lake George watershed and aquifer recharge.

Wildlife that make their home on the forest include: bald eagle, sandhill crane, white-tail deer, wild turkey, bobcat and gopher tortoise.

Recreation

Lake George State Forest offers many recreation opportunities. Bluffton Recreation Area is located on the St. Johns River and offers fishing, picnicking, and a 3/4 mile interpretive nature trail. While there is no boat ramp available, canoes and small jon boats may be launched from the bank. Fishing is also available at Jenkins Pond.

The forest is open to visitors during daylight hours. Hikers, bicyclists and equestrians are welcome on roads, designated trails and permanent fire lines. Contact the State Forest Service to obtain a State Forest Use Permit for primitive camping or for vehicle access to portions of the Mary Farms/Dexter Units (except during Special Opportunity Hunts).

Lake George State Forest is managed as a Wildlife Management Area through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Wildlife Gallery

Image:VF_LGSF_BarredOwl01.jpg|Image:VF_LGSF_Butterfly01.jpg|Image:VF_LGSF_Gator01.jpg|Image:VF_LGSF_WildTurkeys01.jpg|

Notes

References and external links




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