National Defense Land Use
Military Training Exercises
Defending the U.S. and protecting military personnel requires continuous and realistic training. The Navy’s Pinecastle Range on the Ocala National Forest, Florida provides unique conditions and an ideal setting for our sailors, Marines and combat aircrew to conduct this essential training.
Several branches of the military use federal land on the Ocala National Forest for training exercises. The Navy has been training in the area since World War II. Special Use Permits are issued to the Armed Forces including the National Guard, Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) units, U.S. Army Special Forces and the United States Navy. Most of the permits are for short periods of time and issued for each individual outing.
Portions of the Ocala National Forest are temporarily closed during training exercises. Visitors are advised to check the Alerts and Notices page on this website for temporary area closures.
Map of the vicinity and closure gates
- PINECASTLE RANGE COMPLEX TRAINING IMPACTS OCALA NF (FEB 26 - MARCH 18):
The Navy has activated the Pinecastle Range Complex Boundary "Safety Zone" near Ocala National Forest (Feb. 26 to March 18). This involves closing Gates 36-42 to support multiple military training events. For public safety, please note the following:
* Closed sections of Centennial and Big Scrub OHV trails. Riders may use alternative trailheads. Offloading on roads is not permitted.
* Backpackers and dispersed campers must stay within vicinity of Florida National Scenic Trail.
* Training noise may startle wildlife. Use extra caution driving through the Forest. Be prepared to stop quickly.
* Secure outdoor food items, which may attract wildlife. Be aware of large animals and practice "bearwise" measures.
** For training-related noise concerns, please call the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility (800) 874-5059.
The Pinecastle Range is a critical asset to the Navy’s Global Maritime Strategy and the war against terror. It ensures naval air wing components qualify in strike warfare training, command and control, power projection, and air defense missions.
The Navy often employs simulators and synthetic training assets to provide early skill repetition and to enhance teamwork, but live training in a realistic environment such as the Pinecastle Range, Ocala National Forest, Florida is absolutely necessary to ensure success in combat. This element of training cannot be simulated by any other means.
The Navy understands and recognizes the potential for training activities to affect the community and takes proactive steps to minimize these impacts on citizens and the environment.
This part of the Ocala National Forest is habitat for Florida scrub-jays. Learn more at: Journal of Forestry: Sand Pine and Florida Scrub-Jays.