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Ocala National Forest

The Ocala National Forest is the second largest National Forest in the U.S. state of Florida and covers approximately 607 square miles (1,572.12 km sq) of Central Florida. It is located three miles (5 km) east of Ocala and 16 miles (25.75 km) 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.