Big Gum Swamp Wilderness

Located in the Osceola National Forest in Florida.

The 13,600 acre Big Gum Swamp is a large, nearly level fresh water flat and relatively undisturbed cypress-gum swamp area with pine flatwoods on the perimeter. The ground water table is generally near the surface to three or more feet above. A thick spongy mat of organic material covers much of the surface, and numerous shallow sloughs where water moves sluggishly to small streams.

Much of Big Gum Swamp appears untouched by humans. However naval stores or "turpentining" operations began in the area in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Most original timber stands were logged for the larger pine and cypress trees from 1915-1920. Railroads were constructed on earthen trams and tressels that penetrated the swamp.

With the passage of time, nearly all of the man-made intrusions into the swamp have been greatly subdued, and most now blend into the naturally established landscape. Time has restored Big Gum Swamp to a condition that approximates the original natural state.

Many people use the area for hunting. The boggy terrain, warm and humid climatic conditions, and lack of roads or trails to penetrate the dense vegetation, make hiking and other recreational uses of the area extremely challenging.

For further information contact: Osceola Ranger District Office, Osceola National Forest

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 23 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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