National Defense Land Use

Military Training Exercises

Several branches of the military utilize federal land in the Ocala National Forest for training excercises. Special Use Permits are issued to Armed Forces branches such as the National Guard, ROTC, US Army Special Forces and the United States Navy. Most of the permits are for short periods of time, issued for each individual outing.

Bombing Ranges

Pinecastle Bombing RangeThe Forest Service and the Unites States Navy have a longer agreement for the use of the Pinecastle Bombing Range. This range was established by the Army Air Corps in 1943 and has been in continuous use by the United States Navy since the early 1950s to train aircrews and support personnel.

Established in 1908 along with the Ocala National Forest, a fourth National Forest in Florida - Choctawhatchee National Forest - was turned over by Congress in 1940 from the Forest Service to the United States Armed Forces as a munititions testing ground. It is now known as Eglin Air Force Base. Originally created to protect red-cockaded woodpecker habitat and old-growth longleaf pine forests, this 723-square-mile area between Pensacola and Panama City is managed for miltary, conservation, and recreational use. It boasts one of Florida's largest populations of red-cockaded woodpeckers.