Twin Rivers State Forest
Typical scene in Twin Rivers State Forest
Twin Rivers State Forest is comprised of 14,882 acres spread across 14 non-contiguous tracts of land in the floodplain of the Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers in northern Florida. The northern half of the forest extends up the floodplain of the Withlacoochee past Madison Blue Spring State Park and almost to the Georgia State line. The southern half of the forest extends along the Suwannee River south of Suwannee River State Park. The property is managed cooperatively among the Florida Division of Forestry, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Suwannee River Water Management District.
Twin Rivers State Forest contains many different natural communities: sinkhole, swamp, floodplain, sandhill and flatwoods among them. Among the trees on the property are turkey, post and live oak, sweetgum hickory, bald cypress, river birch, American elm, longleaf pine and slash pine. For wildlife you might see white-tailed deer, river otter, bobcat, beaver, American alligator, wild turkey and bobwhite quail.
For recreational users Twin Rivers State Forest offers picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, biking, canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Several tracts of the forest are designated as part of the Twin Rivers Wildlife Management Area and seasonal hunting is allowed. The only campsites on the forest are of the primitive sort and are usually located along the multi-use trails. Camping requires a special use permit, available for free from the Twin Rivers State Forest office (located on US Highway 90 about two miles west of Live Oak). Equestrian users of the property must present a current negative Coggins test before unloading their horses. All riders under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet whenever mounted on a horse.
Portions of Twin Rivers State Forest along the Suwannee River are crossed by the Florida National Scenic Trail. The forest is also a designated site along the Great Florida Birding Trail.
The Twin Rivers Wildlife Management Area covers about 9,000 acres in the southern part of Twin Rivers State Forest. The deer hunting in this area is rated excellent but you'll need a quota hunt permit before trying your luck. The Twin Rivers Blue Springs Wildlife Management Area covers almost 2,000 acres in the northern sections of Twin Rivers State Forest. This area offers excellent bird dog training opportunities in November and December but you'll need a free daily permit to participate. Because of past land management practices, this area is excellent for bobwhite quail hunting. To participate in the January and February hunting season, you need to apply for your quota permit in the fall.
Upper left photo courtesy of Scott Johns, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Map courtesy of Florida Division of Forestry