History & Culture

Stay in Ocala! 1930s road sign Proclaimed as the first National Forest east of the Mississippi in the continental United States in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, the Ocala National Forest encompasses millenia of cultural history, from prehistoric village sites up to pioneer settlements just prior to the creation of the forest.  A significant number of structures remain from the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps era and are still in use today.

From middens left behind by the Timucua to historic homesteads, cemeteries, and CCC-era buildings, explore more of the Ocala National Forest by delving into its colorful cultural history

Cultural Timeline: 10,000 Years of Cultural Resources on the Ocala National Forest (pdf)


Teddy Roosevelt's Legacy

A staunch conservationist who believed in preserving land for the sake of future generations, President Theodore Roosevelt is responsible for the creation of the Ocala National Forest.

Turpentine and Timber

Prior to the formation of the National Forests in the southeastern United States, many local communities were dependent upon turpentine and timber industries from about 1890 to 1920.


Sweetwater Cabin

Sweetwater Cabin 1930

One of the Ocala National Forest's most sought-after cabin rentals is also a Civilian Conservation Corps-era historic site where Gregory Peck stayed during location shoots for The Yearlin...

Doe Lake Dining Hall

Doe Lake Dining Hall

This 1936 Civilian Conservation Corps structure was constructed specifically for use by African American CCC enrollees and is still in use as a kitchen and dining hall today.


Juniper Springs

Juniper Springs in the 1930s

The crown jewel of Civilian Conservations Corps recreation construction in the National Forests in Florida, this unique recreation area has drawn the attention of public since it was built in 1935....

The Civilian Conservation Corps

One of the "New Deal" programs of the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps helped establish many of Florida's parks and built structures throughout the Ocala National Forest.

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