Twin Rivers State Forest is comprised of 14 noncontiguous tracts. These lands were purchased with funds from the Save Our Rivers (SOR) program, created by the Florida State Legislature in 1981, the Preservation 2000 program, established in 1990 by the Florida State Legislature, and the Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL) program.
Historically, the junction of the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers was an important point of commerce. In the 1800s, both rivers were used as major commercial routes and steamboats were a common sight as they carried passengers, freight and mail. Today, the majority of the forest lies within the 100-year floodplain of the Withlacoochee and Suwannee rivers.
In 1995, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Florida Forest Service, was given lead management responsibility for Twin Rivers State Forest under a special lease agreement with the Suwannee River Water Management District. Using an ecosystem management approach, the Florida Forest Service works 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. Multiple-use on the state forest includes forest management, ecosystem restoration, recreation, wildlife management, watershed protection and environmental education.
Twin Rivers State Forest is located along the banks of the Withlacoochee and Suwannee rivers. The forest encompasses eastern Madison, western Hamilton and northwestern Suwannee counties in northern Florida. The Twin Rivers State Forest office is located on U.S. Highway 90, approximately 2 miles west of the town of Live Oak.
There are many natural communities within Twin Rivers State Forest. Among these are sandhill, floodplain, swamp and sinkhole communities. Found within the natural communities are a wide variety of tree species. For example, American elm, river birch, sweetgum, water hickory and bald cypress can be found in the floodplains. Located in the drier sandhill areas are longleaf pine, turkey oak, post oak and live oak. In addition, clear running springs are located on the Anderson Springs and Pott Springs Tracts.
Wildlife, such as white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, bobcat, otter, beaver, alligator and wild turkey are frequently seen on Twin Rivers State Forest.
Each of the tracts on Twin Rivers State Forest offers many recreational opportunities, which include: nature study, picnicking, hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, canoeing and fishing. Twin Rivers State Forest contains two hiking trails (Ellaville and Anderson Springs) that are included in the Florida Forest Service's Trailwalker Hiking Program.
Several tracts on the forest are managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) as a Wildlife Management Area with hunting.
- Twin Rivers Wildlife Management Area
- Twin Rivers WMA - Blue Spring Unit
- Hunting and Fishing Licenses and Permits
Full-facility camping is not available on the forest; however, a few primitive camp areas are located along multiple-use trails. Permits are required for special or group recreational activities and can be obtained from the Twin Rivers State Forest office at no charge.
In keeping with its mission to protect and manage Florida's forest resources, the Florida Forest Service has developed rules that apply to all state forest visitors. Find out more about state forest fees and rules.