Humans have taken advantage of the natural resources found on Big Bend for thousands of years. Throughout the Big Bend is abundant evidence of Native American life-remains of stone quarries, hunting and fishing camps, villages, mounds, and burials. Historic sites-hunting, turpentining, and logging camps-are also common.

Pine trees being tapped for turpentine
Florida State Photo Archives
- Gathering Gum for Turpentine

Early in the 20th century cypress was removed from swamps along trams constructed for railroads. Today some of these trams provide raised roadways for vehicles, hikers, and bikers.

After the original timber was removed, all the uplands and some of the hardwood areas were converted to pine plantations for pulpwood production. Prior to the state's purchase, much of the area was also used as rangeland for hogs and cattle.

The Nature Conservancy purchased the land from Buckeye Cellulose in 1986 as part of a larger land acquisition. In 1987, the then Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission purchased the land from The Nature Conservancy through the Conservation and Recreation Lands Program.

Cypress tree log
Florida Photo Archives
- 3000 year-old Cypress from the Big Bend

Cypress tree being logged
Florida Photo Archives
- cypress ready for logging

In the 1960s, Buckeye in cooperation with the Commission constructed a dike which impounded approximately 1800 acres of open marsh and timber land in the Hickory Mound Unit to be managed primarily for waterfowl. The impoundment remains popular with duck hunters, crabbers, and anglers. Buckeye also constructed the recreation facilities at Hagen's Cove.

FWC Facts:
The Florida Bird Conservation Initiative is a voluntary, public-private partnership that seeks to promote the sustainability of native Florida birds and their habitats.

Learn More at AskFWC