Big Shoals State Forest
7620 133rd Road
Live Oak, FL 32060
Phone: 386/ 208-1460
Explore Big Shoals!
Big Shoals State Forest comprises 1,673 acres of
the 3,919 acre Big Shoals Public Lands (BSPL). BSPL is managed jointly
by the Florida Division of Forestry, Florida State Parks, Suwannee
River Water Management District (SRWMD), and Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission (FFWCC). The Suwannee River flows along the
entire southern boundary of BSPL. The State Forest portion is located
on the northern side of the Public Lands.
Located in the southeastern corner of Hamilton
County, this property (formerly known as the Brown Tract) was
purchased from the Nature Conservancy by the State of Florida in 1986
through the Conservation and Recreational Lands (CARL) program. It was
designated as a state forest in March of 1989.
Big Shoals is located on the east side of the
town of White Springs. There are two entrances to Big Shoals Public
Lands; the �Little Shoals� entrance on the west side of the
property and the �Big Shoals� entrance on the east. From White
Springs, travel north on CR 135 one mile and then, turn right into the
Little Shoals entrance. From the Little Shoals entrance, continue
north on CR 135 for two more miles and turn right on SE 94th Street
(Old Godwin Bridge Road), and follow it to the end at the Big Shoals
There are several natural community types within
Big Shoals State Forest. The dominant type is Mesic Flatwoods, however
Upland Mixed Forests, Basin Swamps, and Cypress Domes are well
represented. Most of these communities are good examples and have been
well maintained. A perennial stream, Four Mile Branch, flows through
Big Shoals and into the Suwannee River.
Using an ecosystem management approach, the
primary management objective of the Division of Forestry is to
restore, maintain and protect all native ecosystems. Through sound
multiple-use management practices, a proper balance is maintained
between resource utilization and resource protection. The forest which
provides habitat for many species of wildlife including white-tailed
deer, bobcat, fox squirrel and wild turkey.
While Big Shoals Public Lands is noted for its
whitewater rapids associated with the Big and Little Shoals on the
Suwannee River at certain river levels, the State Forest portion has
multiple other recreation opportunities as well. These include nature
study, picnicking, hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, fishing, and
Big Shoals State Forest contains a hiking trail
and horseback riding trail included in the Florida Division of
Forestry Trailwalker and Trailtrotter Programs. There is also a very
popular 4 mile paved bicycle trail located on the State Forest.
A canoe launch is located on the northern
section of the river but note: the shoals are very dangerous and
should not be navigated when the water level is high. In addition, FWC
has designated a portion of Big Shoals Public Lands as a Type I
Wildlife Management Area for hunting.
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