Dispersed Camping

Camping near Hidden Pond

Many people enjoy the solitude and primitive experience of dispersed camping - camping away from developed campgrounds and other campers with few services or facilities. Additional skills are necessary for a successful trip. It is your responsibility to know your limits and abilities before you try this experience. Certain rules and regulations will make your experience safe and ensure settings remain scenic and unspoiled.

  1. Leave No Trace.
  2. Be Bear Aware. 
  3. Minimize Waste.
    1. Pack it in, pack it out. Dispose of all garbage in proper receptacles.
    2. Bury all human and pet waste at least 6 inches deep and at least 100 feet away from any water source.
  4. Camp Considerately.
    1. Dispersed camping is not allowed in the vicinity of developed recreation areas or less than 100 feet from streams and other water sources.
    2. Pick a previously used site. Plants, soil and wildlife are impacted by new campsites.
    3. Make your campsite less visible, so other visitors can experience a “wild” setting.
    4. Avoid camping in the middle of a clearing or meadow.
    5. Be aware of forest boundaries. Get permission before camping on private property.
  5. Control your Campfire.
    1. Do not camp in an area with campfire restrictions listed under Alerts & Notices and Forest Orders.
    2. Use existing fire rings, fire pans or mound fires to minimize scarring rocks, soil and plants.
    3. Gather and use down and dead firewood. Do not cut standing trees or limbs off standing trees.
    4. Burn all wood and coals down to ashes.
    5. Make sure campfires are dead out and cold to the touch before leaving. Douse them with water and stir with a shovel.
  6. Know the Rules.
    1. Generally, there is a 14-day per month stay limit on the National Forests in Florida. Establishing residency is against federal regulation.
    2. Groups of over 75 people must obtain a special use permit from the nearest district office.
    3. Pets are welcome in most areas but must be kept on a leash.
    4. Camping is allowed only in designated campsites during general gun season, as defined in Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission regulations for the Wildlife Management Areas.

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Dispersed Camping Areas