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A Hidden Gem: The Bear Creek Educational Forest

If you are in the Quincy area and looking for a good place to spend some time outdoors, you might consider a trip to Bear Creek Educational Forest. 

Located south of Quincy, the park features opportunities for locals and visitors to learn about the forest while enjoying a peaceful, family-friendly atmosphere. 

Brooks White, Educational Forester at Bear Creek.

Visitors to Bear Creek can find a variety of recreational activities, available including hiking, wildlife viewing, and camping. 

Bear Creek Educational Forest is a 492-acre tract of the Lake Talquin State Forest, which includes parks in both Gadsden and Leon counties.

As an educational forest, Bear Creek provides organized hands-on opportunities for children grades K-12 to learn about the trees, plants, and animals that inhabit the area.

Students who visit the park will also learn how to protect native forests such as Bear Creek, and what it’s like to have a career in forestry.  

These programs are designed to meet state education standards and are offered Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

They are free of charge to schools and youth organizations.   

The park also features a system of trails which explore various sections of the forest, such as the Ravine Trail, a two mile hike around Beaver Pond. 

There is also the paved interactive Living Forest Trail, which features various button-activated speakers that provide visitors with facts about significant trees and plants in the area.

Living Forest Trail is also the easiest and shortest trail, at a little over a half-mile round trip across mostly level ground.

There are three other unpaved hiking trails as well, totaling about five miles in length.

Other basic amenities include a sheltered picnic area, water fountains, and public restrooms.

The park’s entrance is located about five miles from Interstate 10 exit 181, heading south on Highway 267.

“Bear Creek is a really unique place,” says Educational Forester Brooks White. “I feel like we need to let people know that this is out here. It’s in such a nice secluded place that it’s hard for people to stumble upon it. If we can let people know it’s out here we can hopefully get some more foot traffic, and more people excited about the great outdoors.”

Stephen Klein – Gadsden County News Service

CORRECTION – Made on February 4 – Hunting is not permitted at Bear Creek Educational Forest. This statement has been omitted.