Encompassing nearly 200,000 acres of original Florida, the Osceola National Forest is a natural gem. These forested woodlands and swamps provide many opportunities for a wide range of visitor experiences such as camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, hunting, riding horse trails, wildlife viewing and many more. Some recreational activities require a pass or permit. Please see the recreation section for more information.
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 1940s 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 1960s, management in the US 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."
Get to Know Your National Forests in Florida
Tips on how to make your visit to our National Forest more enjoyable.