Little Big Econ State Forest
The Econlockhatchee River as it crosses Little Big Econ State Forest
The name "Little Big Econ" State Forest comes from a mix of names: the Little Econlockhatchee River and the larger Econlockhatchee River, which flow across the 9,563-acre state forest. The forest is split in two parcels: the main Little Big Econ and the Kilbee Tract. The main parcel of Little Big Econ State Forest is located south of County Road 426 in southeastern Seminole County. The entrance to the state forest is about 3.3 miles east of Oviedo on CR 426. The Kilbee Tract is a couple miles further east on Old Mims Road. Little Big Econ State Forest is part of a 100-mile long wildlife corridor of public lands strung out along the St. Johns River.
In the early 1900's, the Flagler Railroad System crossed this property to a bridge across the Econlockhatchee River (Econlockhatchee: winding river of turtles). Today, that railroad route is used by hikers to cross the river as part of the Florida National Scenic Trail. The river itself is narrow and winding, a designated Outstanding Florida Water. There are several improved canoe launch areas along the river in the forest. There are also parking areas at three trailheads established for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Canoeists with a special use permit (available at the Little Big Econ State Forest office) are allowed to primitive camp on the property but no one else is.
Travelers on the property might see river otter, gray fox, bobcat, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, wood storks, osprey, bald eagle, roseate spoonbill, sandhill cranes, wading birds, migratory waterfowl and even the occasional Florida black bear.
Part of Little Big-Econ State Forest is managed jointly with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission as the almost-6,000-acre Little Big Econlockhatchee Wildlife Management Area. Fishing is permitted everywhere but hunting is allowed only on the Kilbee Tract and only during designated seasons.
Upper left photo courtesy of Ben Goldfarb, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Map is courtesy of Florida Division of Forestry