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Captian Forster Hammock Preserve
Captian Forster Hammock Preserve
Captian Forster Hammock Preserve
Captian Forster Hammock Preserve
The Captain Forster Hammock Preserve was opened with public access improvements on February 17, 2003. The Preserve contains trails through mature maritime hammock and coastal hammock habitats. New restrooms and parking are located one mile south of County Road 510 on Jungle Trail. Seasonal tours are offered and self-guided walks are a great way to see a remnant of "old Florida." Trails are easy walking and are open from 8am until sunset.
The 110 acre Captain Forster Hammock Preserve was purchased in the mid 1990s by Indian River County with cost-share funds from the State Conservation and Recreation Lands Program. The property was purchased to conserve natural and cultural resources on the site. The property is owned by the State Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund and is managed by Indian River County. The Preserve contains maritime hammock, coastal strand and wetland plant communities. It borders Jungle Trail, a State designated greenway and a byway of the Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Highway. The Preserve contains one of the largest remaining coastal maritime hammocks on Orchid Island. The site was home to Captain Frank Forster, one of the first Orchid Island residents who homesteaded on the barrier island growing winter vegetables and fishing along the Indian River Lagoon.

Captain Frank Forster, the Preserve's namesake, was born in 1856 in Hamburg, Germany. His father was a college professor. At an early age, he ran away to a sailing career and sailed all over the world. Under the Homestead Act he acquired land north of where Wabasso Bridge is located today. There he built his first home and a dock for his sailing vessel, the Dood. He also established a post office, which he called Orchid and became the first postmaster in 1887. A one-room school, the Orchid School, was located on his homestead.
*His first citrus grove was started in 1893 and in the first few years, a freeze ruined his trees. Replanting immediately, he expanded his crops to include cabbage, beans, guavas and at one time sold Easter lilies. His influence spread the fame of Indian River fruit.
*Captain Forster convinced many people to settle on Orchid Island by selling off portions of his holdings, which he had acquired through a Federal Land Grant. One of the early settlers that bought land from Captain Forster was the Michael family.
*He married Albertine Enos who was from Vermont. Her mother had brought her to Florida as a child to recover from scarlet fever. Captain Forster and Albertine were married in 1894 and had their first child, Mary, in 1897. Another girl, Jacqueline, was the second daughter.
*In the 1890's, Captain Forster helped Henry Flagler obtain rights of way through the Vero Beach area. He was rewarded by obtaining the contract to sell fruit and vegetables to the dining cars.


  • Park is monitored by staff on a regular basis.
  • Park is open from dawn to dusk.
  • Trail conditions are rustic: Be prepared for uneven ground, exposed tree roots, and primitive conditions.
  • Please stay on the trails; poison ivy, various bees and other wildlife are abundant.
  • Motorized vehicles of any kind and bicycles are not allowed beyond the designated parking area.
  • Hunting, taking (collecting) of plants, animals or artifacts are strictly prohibited and will be enforced.
  • Pets are allowed, but must be on a leash.
  • Please pick-up and discard animal waste in trash barrels located at the trailhead.
  • Restroom facilities are open during park hours.
  • Littering of any kind is strictly prohibited. Trash barrels are located at the trailhead and restrooms for your convenience.
  • Be prepared for mosquitoes and sandflies; wear a repellent and/or long pants and shirts.
  • Report any problems, vandalism, and prohibited activities to the Conservation Lands Manager immediately by calling 772-589-9223.

Benefits of the Conservation Area:
Approximately 14 designated species listed as Threatened or Endangered by Federal and State Agencies are found on the property
Permanent protection from encroachment and development
Educational tool for environmental education
Neo-tropical songbirds passage
Habitat for animals that have been displaced by development
One of the only remaining undisturbed maritime hammocks of significant size in Indian River County
Located near protected Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge, specifically created for Sea Turtles


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