SOUTHPORT, Fla. – Florida Forest Service employees are temporarily closing certain roads on Point Washington State Forest due to vehicular damage and illegal dumping. These roads have degraded to a condition where management and conservation practices are negatively impacted.
Local employees have noticed enhanced vehicular traffic since early Spring. This increased visitation has led to higher rates of vandalism and illegal activity. Point Washington State Forest has experienced numerous incidents involving vehicle collisions, high-speed travel, property destruction, and ATV operation. “We encourage everyone to enjoy recreational opportunities on the forest, but illegal activities are destroying habitat and hindering our management practices,” said Mike Mathis, Chipola Forestry Center Manager.
Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission Law Enforcement Officers remain on patrol and are issuing citations for those engaged in illegal activity on State Forest Lands. Destroying conservation land, disposing illegal material, violating road closures, and traveling at high rates of speed could result in hefty fines and trespass citations. Both agencies are committed to resolve the situation and willing to take additional measures in protecting conservation land.
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. Learn more at www.FDACS.gov\FLFloridaForest.