July 10, 2008
Biggest State Forest in Nassau Opens to Public Visitors Can Now Access 5,000 Acres in Four Creeks State Forest.
By WENDI ZONGKER
CALLAHAN - A portion of the third and largest state forest in Nassau County opened Tuesday, offering people another place to hike, fish and ride horses.
Visitors can now access 5,000 acres of the 13,000-acre Four Creeks State Forest through the north entrance off Florida A1A, 4 miles east of Callahan and 5 miles west of Interstate 95.
Entrance is free, forester Jennifer Hart said.
A south entrance is expected to open in the next week or two, providing access to the remaining 8,000 acres, Hart said.
Hart said construction crews are still working on the 24 miles of roads through the forest.
Four area creeks - Alligator, Boggy, Plummer and Thomas - give the forest its name. Alligator Creek divides the forest, necessitating the two entrances, Hart said.
"I am really excited about the opening," Hart said. "We have labored over two years for this. It takes an amazing amount of work and planning, both on the ground and in the office, to bring a new forest online."
In addition to hiking, fishing and horseback riding, visitors can hunt and launch canoes and kayaks from two boat ramps, Hart said.
Hart said improvements are planned, including trails and camping areas. Camping is not offered, she said.
The land was bought in 2005 by the St. Johns River Water Management District and the Northeast Florida Timberlands and Watershed Reserve Florida Forever Project out of fear of development in the area.
Hart said the land was bought to protect water quality for Northeast Florida and to provide recreation, wildlife habitat and state revenue.
Four Creeks State Forest joins two other Nassau state forests: the 3,413-acre Cary State Forest in Bryceville and the 3,638-acre Ralph E. Simmons State Forest in [email protected] (904) 261-7606 ext. 6353
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