K I N G S L E Y    L A K E . O R G
History FACTS
[click HERE to return to the OFW Petition]

(this document was used as Exhibit 8 for the 1989 Petition for OFW)


Prepared by the Bureau of Wildlife Land Management, Division of
Wildlife, Florida Game and Freah Water Fish Commission
In cooperation with the State Armory Board, January 1985

CONTENTS:  (only first 2 sections were included in the Petition)
I. INTRODUCTION: A. Land Acquisition; B. Previous Use and Development; C. Soils, Topography and Climate; D. Vegetation

II. RESOURCE INVENTORY AND USER DEMAND; A. Wildlife; B. Fish; C. Public Use; D. Forest, Mineral, Scenic and Water Resources

VI. RECOMMENDED MANAGEMENT; A. Forest Management; B. Wildlife; Fisheries Management; D. Recreation
VII. COSTS AND POSSIBLE FUNDING TO MAINTAIN CURRENT MANAGEMENT; A. Wildlife Management; B. Law Enforcement; C. Fisheries Management; D. Current Funding Source
IX. APPENDICES: I: Memorandum of Understanding; II Land Description; III Endangered and Threatened Species



The 73,000 acre Camp Blanding Wildlife Management Area is located in the western portion of Clay County, Florida. The area lies eight miles east of Starke and seven miles west of Green Cove Springs. The area is bordered by State Road 21 on the east and south, and by the Clay/Bradford county line on most of the west and portions of the north. The land is owned exclusively by the Florida State Armory Board. State Road 16 runs eastwest through the management area, separating the north range (still hunt area) from the south range (dog hunt area) see Figure I. The legal description of the property is contained in Appendix I.

A. Land Acquisition

In 1965, the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission entered into a lease agreement with the Florida State Armory Board. It was agreed that the Commission would operate Camp Blanding as a wildlife management area for an indefinite length of time on approximately 72,000 acres. In 1979, an additional 1,013 acres were leased, free of charge, from E. I. Dupont de Nemours. A portion of this area was set aside in 1981 for use as a dove field. An additional 2,500 acres presently leased by Dupont was made available for archery hunting in 1983. The total acreage available to hunters will fluctuate in this area due to mining operations. E. I. Dupont presently holds a lease to a total of 12,000 acres of Camp Blanding. The Girl Scouts of America leases 640 acres for recreational purposes, and have made their area available for archery hunting during the general gun season. Other agencies have leased land from the Armory Board for recreational purposes and excluded hunting. The Federal Aviation Administration leases 186 acres for recreation, and the City of Keystone Heights has a lease for 12.5 acres, also for recreation. In addition to the land excluded by these leases, hazardous duds from military operations preclude hunting in approximately 15,000 acres. This leaves a total of 37,000 acres open to gun hunting and a fluctuating acreage of approximately 4,600 acres open for archery hunting.

B. Previous Use and Development

Much of Camp Blanding's history is connected with the fact that it contains the "Florida Trail Ridge," a northsouth sand ridge having some of the higher elevations in Florida. This ridge made an attractive passageway to early settlers wishing to avoid river and swamp crossings, as water drained either east or west without crossing the ridge. Early economic use of the area began in the late 1800's with the utilization of forestry resources for naval stores and lumber. By 1920, the area was almost totally clear cut and tiny settlements, Wailer, Wilderness, and Lee, established in the mid1800's began to decrease in size. In 1939, the Florida National Guard bought 15,000 acres in the area for initial training facilities. At the outbreak of World War II, the federal government took over this 15,000 acres and bought additional surrounding land, bringing the total to 72,000 acres in 1942. The area became one of the largest army training facilities in the country, with 80 to 100 thousand troops utilizing the base during the war years. In 1955, the full 72,000 acres were deeded to the Florida National Guard.

E. I. Dupont discovered ilmenite, titanium and various other minerals in the "trail ridge" in 1947, and in 1948 a lease was obtained allowing strip mining for these minerals. Land that was strip mined by Dupont was devastated during early mining, leaving only sterile sand dunes. During the late 1960s, reclamation of newly mined areas was begun, with topsoil being replaced after the minerals had been removed. The Dupont mining leases will not expire until 2004, so it is likely that mining operations will continue in the immediate future.

Forestry operations provide the largest source of revenue from the management of natural resources on Camp Blanding. The Florida Armory Board employs fulltime crews for fire protection and forest management with a head forester in charge of timber operations. Logging contracts are let to the highest commercial bidder who will meet the specifications for the sale.

Currently the area is used for National Guard training purposes, with periodic use by all branches of the armed forces and various law enforcement agencies. The base is active throughout the year, however, field operations are curtailed during the hunting season to avoid conflicts. Permanent military installations include housing, operational offices, barracks, firing ranges, tank training areas, bombing ranges, and various other military facilities. In 1980, the base was upgraded from a Class B to a Class A facility as a result of increased utilization of the area by military personnel and projected higher utilization in the future.

When first opened as a wildlife management area in 1956, Camp Blanding received 249 mandays of hunting pressure and 6 deer were harvested. Over the years, pressure and harvest have increased to nearly 33,000 mandays of hunting pressure and a harvest of over 300 deer annually. Prior to becoming a wildlife management area, feral hogs were harvested by hunters having "hog rights" granted to them by the military. Deer and wild hogs were stocked on Camp Blanding by the Commission.

Turkey research by the Commission began in Camp Blanding in the mid 1960's with trapping techniques, molting patterns and breeding activity research on wild and semiwild birds. Research and experimentation was conducted on various exotic game bird species, such as the Royal duck and various species of pheasant.

An intensive planting program was implemented during Camp Blanding's early history as a wildlife management area, with agricultural operations undertaken to supplement existing deer, turkey, quail and dove foods. Turkey and quail feeders were also operated to provide supplemental food for these species. Approximately seventy food plots consisting of wheat, oats and rye are now planted annually in the fall to increase hunter Success. A dove field is annually planted in corn, with supplementary millet, to provide an opportunity for public dove shooting.

Due to concern over timber harvesting and site conversion of hardwood habitat, and agreement was reached in 1965 between the Commission and the Florida Armory Board stipulating that hardwood habitat would no longer be converted to pine plantation. This agreement was executed in the form of an addendum to the Commission's existing lease (Appendix II). [This was a direct result of plans to log hardwood on Black Creek by the Blanding Forester. The lease mentioned has since been replaced.]

Antlerless deer permits were first issued on the north range (still hunt area) of Camp Blanding during the 198081 general season. Fifty permit! were issued that year on the north range, with the number increasing to 200 during the following three years. An additional fifty antlerless permits were issued for the south range in 1984. Four preseason archery and muzzleloader hunts are conducted annually on the north range. North and south ranges have separate quotas during the general gun season, due to the different perspectives of managing still and dog hunt areas. Though a total of 950 hunters are permitted to hunt the area during the first nine days of the general season, postquota holiday weekends occasionally reach daily totals of over 2,000 hunters.

Department of Military Affairs provides housing for the resident biologist; however, maintenance of the house and out buildings became the responsibility of the Commission in 1981. A workshop, storage area and one check station are also supplied by the Armory Board. The Commission assists in the maintenance and repair of existing roads, fences and gates.

The Camp Blanding fish management area was opened to the public in 1964, and included Lowery Lake, Magnolia Lake, Blue Pond and Perch Pond. Various fish management techniques have been applied in these lakes throughout the years. Brush attractors have been placed in the lakes, and bulrush (Scirpus validus) has been planted in littoral zones to increase cover and foraging habitat. Sunshine bass (Morone chrysops x Morone saxatilis) are stocked semiannually, and threadfin shad (Dorosoma petenense), Seminole killifish (Fundulus seminolis, Girard) and channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) have also been introduced to these lakes. Lack of nutrients in the clear waters of these lakes has allowed only limited success of these programs. Boat ramps, a small dock on Lowery Lake, and various informational signs are provided and maintained by Commission personnel. Lakes and streams not in the fish management area are fished by military personnel and their guests.

C. Soils, Topography and Climate

Soils in Camp Blanding consist of three major associations. These soils are all sandy, but are very distinct in that they range from excessively drained to poorly drained. Soil in the trail ridge section is of the AlbinBlanton association, formed by marine deposits on older landscapes. Approximately fifty percent of Camp Blanding is of this soil type. The MascotteLeonSurrency association borders the trail ridge and is poorly drained with an underlying hard pan within thirty inches of the surface. This association is found in approximately thirtyfive percent of Camp Blanding soils. The remaining soil association is of the ChipleyLeonOsier association, with moderately well to poorly drained soils, depending upon subsoil composition.

Camp Blanding's topography is flat to moderately hilly with some ravine features near major creeks. Kingsley Lake (1,627 acres) forms the headwaters for the extensive Black Creek and Rice Creek river and lake systems. There are eight lakes totaling 3,627 acres in Camp Blanding, with numerous streams and small ponds. Elevation of the area ranges from 50 to 255 feet above sea level.

Camp Blanding has an average annual rainfall of 53 inches per year and has a sevenmonth growing season. The coldest month of the year is January which has an average temperature of 54°F, and the warmest month is August, with an average temperature of 82°F.

D. Vegetation

The vegetative cover of Camp Blanding consists of the following major types:

1. Turkey Oak Sandhills — Turkey oak (Querous laevis), commonly indigenous to north central Florida, are found on poor, welldrained soils which are widespread throughout the area. Sand pine (Pinus clause) is intermixed with turkey oak overstory in turkey oak habitat not regularly control burned and tends to replace turkey oak as the dominant overstory. Understory is sparse, even in areas of adequate sunlight penetration. Wiregrass (Aristida spp.), huckleberry (Gaylussacia dumosa) and rosemary (Ceratiola ericoldes) are widely scattered throughout the understory.

2. Lowland Pine and Hardwood Ravines — Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), pond pine (Pinus serotina), intermingled with red bay (Persea borbonia), water oak (Quercus nigra) and cypress (Taxdoium distichum) are all found in areas extending from the numerous lowland creeks and ravines. Understory consists of wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), gallberry (Ilex glabra), greenbriar (Smilax spp.) and saw palmetto (Serona repens).

3. Pine Flatwoods — Row planted slash pine (Pinus elliotti indensa) is the dominant overstory in these flat, welldrained areas. Longleaf pine (Pinus australis) is thinly dispersed throughout some areas, with turkey oak (Quercus laevis) and laurel oak (Quereus laurifolia) encroaching upon the slash pine in other areas. Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), wiregrass (Aristida spp.), small turkey oaks and runner oak (Quercus pumila) provide the understory common to these areas.

4. Mixed Hardwood Hammocks — Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) and laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia) are dominant in these areas, with wild cherry wood (Prunnus serotina), sweet gum (Liquidumbar styracifula), and a variety of other hardwoods located in these scenic areas. A portion of this area contains interspersed loblolly pines (Pinus taeda) in excess of 100 years of age. Some are areas of previous habitation and have clearings resulting from former cultivation within them. Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) and blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) are some of the various species found in the diverse understory. These areas are unique to the region, relatively unaltered and are aesthetically valuable. [added note: This is a description of the Black Creek drainage system.]

5. Mature Longleaf Pine Flatwoods — Areas of older mature longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) are still found where they were previously used for turpentine production. Most of these areas have been metalcontaminated by military activities, making them commercially unattractive. Understory consists of wiregrass (Aristida spp.), gallberry (Ilex glabra) and saw palmetto (Serenoa repens).

6. Cypress Heads — Cypress (Taxodium distichum) is found in shallow, temporary ponds of low elevation. Understory is characteristically maidencane (Panicum hemitomon).

7. Disturbed Sites — These areas include military installations, shops and warehouses, strip mining areas, artillery and firing ranges, civilian housing, food plots, roads and ditches.

8. Endangered and Threatened Vegetation — Chapman's rhododendron is the only known endangered plant on the management area. There is currently a population of approximately twenty plants, all located in one isolated one tenth acre. Bartram's ixia (Sphenostigma coelestinum) is a threatened species of wild flower found on a twomile section of rightofway on the eastern boundary of Camp Blanding. The area is regularly mowed by the Florida Department of Transportation which is consistent with proper management of the species.


A. Wildlife

Due to the great amount of habitat diversity in the Camp Blanding Wildlife Management Area, a wide variety of wildlife utilize and reside in the area.

1. Endangered (S = State List; F = Federal List)

      Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) F
      Redcockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) F

2. Threatened (S = State List, F = Federal_ List)

       Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) S
       Redcockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) S
       Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corals couperi) S, F
       Southeastern kestrel (Falco saverius paulus) S
       Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens coerulescens) S
       Florida black bear (Ursus americanus floridanus) S
       American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) F

3. Species of Special Concern (S = State List; F = Federal List)

       American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) S
       Florida gopher frog (Rena areolata) S
       Gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) S
       [also: Little Blue Heron]

4. Common Resident Species

Whitetailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
Wild turkey (Meleagris gallopaus)
Feral hog (Sus scrofa)
Gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
Fox squirrel (Sciurus niger)
Bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus)
Mourning dove (Zenaida macroura)
Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
Raccoon (Procyon rotor)
Gray fox (Urocyon cinereargenteus)
Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
Eastern cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus)
Southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans)
Ninebanded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinetus)
Otter (Lutra canadensis)
Evening bat (Nycticelus humeralis)
Roundtailed muskrat (Neofiber alleni)
Southeastern pocket gopher (Geomys pinetis)
Eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)
Florida cottonmouth (Agkistrodon pisciuorus)
Pigmy rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius)
Eastern coral snake (Micrurus fulvius)
Corn snake (Elaphy guttata)
Rat snake (Elaphy obsolete)
Pine gopher snake (Pituophis melanoleucus)
Southern black racer (Columber constrictor)
Eastern coachwhip (Masticophis flanellum)
Eastern glass lizard (Ophisaurus ventralis)
Southern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus)
Southeastern fivelined skink (Eumeces inexpectatus)
Green angle (Anolis carolinensis)
Florida box turtle (Terrapene carolina)
Southern toad (Bufo terrestris)
Green treefrog (Hyla cinereal)
Bullfrog (Rena catesbeiana)
Great blue heron (Arda herodies)
Eastern kestrel (Falco sparverius sparverius)
Cattle egret (Bulbulus ibis)
Wilson's snipe (Capella gallinago)
Redtailed hawk (Buteo janaicensis)
Piebilled grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)
Redheaded woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus erythrocephalus)
Downy woodpecker (Dendrocopus pubescens)
Redbellied woodpecker (Centurus carolinus)
Robin (Turdus migratorius)
Eastern bluebird (Sialia sialia)
Eastern kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)
Turkey vulture (Athartes aura)
Black vulture (Coragyps atratus)
Boattailed grackle (Cassidix mexicanus)
Redwinged blackbird (Agelaius phoenicens)
Crow (Corvus brachychynchos)
Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)
Wood duck (Aix sponsa)
Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)
Mockingbird (Minus polyglottos)
Redshouldered hawk (Buteo lincatus)
Great Crested flycatcher (Myiarchus crinutus)
Barred owl (Strix varia)
Great Horned owl (Bubo virginianus)
Screech owl (Otus asio)
Chuckwillwidow (Caprimulgus carolinensis)
Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor)
Ground dove (Columbigallina passerine passerine)
Yellow bellied sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius varius)
Yellowshafted flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Carolina wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)
Brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum rufum)
Cardinal (Richmondena cardinalis)
Bluejay (Cyanocitta cristata)
Brown creeper (Certhia familiaris)
Whiteeyed vireo (Vireo griseus)
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus vociferus)

[also: cotton mouse, striped skunk, Florida green snake, brown water snake, Eastern garter snake, Eastern coral snake, Eastern hognose snake, Spring peeper, southern leopard frog, Florida cooter, Florida softshell turtle, yellow-bellied cooter, Florida snapping turtle, pig frog, river frog, bronze frog, wood chuck, greater siren, leser siren, two-toed amphiuma, central newt, slimy salamander, dwarf salamander, tufted titmouse, Carolina wren, ruby-crowned kinglet, gray catbird, brown thrasher, sharp-shinned hawk, wild turkey, ruby throated hummingbird, red-bellied woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, pileated woodpecker, fish crow, Acadian flycatcher, Red-eyed vireo, Prothonotary warbler, northern parula, common yellow throat, rufous-sided towhee.]

B. Fish

Generally, these fish form a check list of species found in the Clay County area in lakes, small rivers and creeks.

Bowfin (Amia calve)
Pirate perch (Aphredoderus sayanus)
Gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum)
Threadfin shade (Dorosoma pretenense)
Lake chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta)
Redfin pickerel (Esox americanus)
Chain pickerel (Esox niger)
Swamp darter (Etheostoma fusiforme)
Golden topminnow (Fundulus chrysotus)
Eastern starheaded topminnow (Fundulus notti lineolatus)
Seminole killifish (Fundulus seminolis)
Gambusia (Gambusia affinis)
Least killifish (Heterandria formosa)
White catfish (Ictalurus catus)
Yellow bullhead (Ictalurus natalis)
Brown bullhead (Ictalurus nebelosus)
Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)
Brook silverside (Labidesthes sicculus)v Florida gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus)
Redbreast sunfish (Lepomis auritus)
Bluespotted sunfish (Enneacanthus gloriosus)
Warmouth (Lepomis gulosus)
Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)v Banded pygmy sunfish (Elassoma zonatum)
Dollar sunfish (Lepomis marginatus)
Redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus)
Spotted sunfish (Lepomis punctatus)
Bluefin killifish (Lucania goodei)
Largemouth black bass (Micropterus salmoides floridanus)
Sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna)
Golden shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas)
Taillight shiner (Notropis maculatus)
Tadpole madtom (Noturus gyrinus)
Black crappie (Poxomis nigromaculatus)
Sunshine bass (Morone saxatilis x chrysops)
C. Public Use

Public use of the area includes approximately 27,000 mandays of hunting pressure yearly. Hunters are required to enter and exit one of the three checking stations operated by the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission. Fishermen account for approximately 1,500 mandays of fishing pressure on the fish management area lakes. The only access to the fish management area is by Treat Road from State Road 21.

Members of the Florida Trail Association are allowed to hike the section of the Florida Trail which passes through Camp Blanding. The Girl Scouts utilize camping facilities near Kingsley Lake.

All other usage of the area is limited to military personnel. Additional public use has limited potential due to military activities.

D. Forest, Mineral, Scenic and Water Resources

Timber is an important renewable resource to Camp Blanding as it supplies a large percentage of financial income to the National Guard facility. Slash pine (Pinus ellioti) is the primary source of timber, although longleaf pine (Pinus australis) has naturally regenerated from the original longleaf forests that were almost totally clear cut in the 1920's. Utilized in limited amounts are loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), sand pine (Pinus clause) and pond pine (Pinus serotina). Stumping leases also provide additional income to Camp Blanding.

Ilmenite, titanium and various other minerals are present in soils of the area. These minerals have been extensively strip mined by E. I. Dupont since 1948. Dupont's present lease expires in the year 2004.

Scenic areas are abundant in Camp Blanding with clear springfed lakes and streams, relatively unaltered hardwood hammocks and ravines, and an abundant variety of vegetation and terrain. The Florida Trail Association maintains a scenic trail through the south portion of the management area.

Camp Blanding provides the source of both the Black Creek and Rice Creek drainage systems from springfed Kingsley Lake. Due to the large amount of discharge from Kingsley Lake flowing into other lakes and creeks in the area, water fluctuation is minimal, even in drought years. The high percentage of welldrained soils and comparatively high elevation of Camp Blanding allows soils to drain well during wet seasons, except in various cypress heads and creek bottoms. Many small ponds are found in areas strip mined by Dupont.

Three cemeteries with legible markers dating back to the early 1800's are found in three separate locations in Camp Blanding. Oak Grove Cemetery is found on the north range, with Beulah (within 1/2 mile of Black Creek) and Lee cemeteries located on the south range.

[This 'Blanding' document ended abruptly at this point, at least in our copy of the Petition.]

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