It covers 607sqmi of Central Florida. It is located three miles (5 km) east of Ocala and 16mi southeast of Gainesville. The Ocala National Forest, established in 1908, is the oldest national forest east of the Mississippi River and the southernmost national forest in the continental U.S. The word Ocala is thought to be a derivative of a Timucuan Indian term meaning "fair land" or "big hammock". The forest is headquartered in Tallahassee, as are all three National Forests in Florida, but there are local ranger district offices located in Silver Springs and Umatilla.Geography and ecologyThe Ocala National Forest lies between the Ocklawaha and St. Johns Rivers in Central Florida. In descending order of land area it is located in parts of Marion, Lake, Putnam, and Seminole counties.
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The Ocala National Forest ls the second largest nationally protected forest in the U.S. State of Florida.
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