Branan Field Wildlife and Environmental Area

Restoration of the pine flatwoods is largely completed at the 386-acre Branan Field. Today, gopher tortoises thrive in the maturing forest, which is maintained by prescribed burning. Located about 13 miles southwest of Jacksonville, the area was established in 1989 as a gopher tortoise mitigation preserve through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Mitigation Park Program.

photo of pine flatwoods
Chris Tucker
Pine Flatwoods

Resource management activities primarily focus on restoring and maintaining critical habitats for listed species. Jennings State Forest is located one-half mile to the southwest. Because of encroaching development, the park's regularly burned pine flatwoods serve as an oasis for gopher tortoises. Along the three miles of hiking trails, visitors may spot the tortoises or their burrows, and eastern bluebirds, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, southeastern kestrels and colorful wildflowers and carnivorous plants.

FWC Facts:
Butterflies taste with their feet.

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