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
OF CAPTAIN FRANK FORSTER
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.
is monitored by staff on a regular basis.
is open from dawn to dusk.
conditions are rustic: Be prepared for uneven ground, exposed
tree roots, and primitive conditions.
stay on the trails; poison ivy, various bees and other wildlife
vehicles of any kind and bicycles are not allowed beyond
the designated parking area.
taking (collecting) of plants, animals or artifacts are
strictly prohibited and will be enforced.
are allowed, but must be on a leash.
pick-up and discard animal waste in trash barrels located
at the trailhead.
facilities are open during park hours.
of any kind is strictly prohibited. Trash barrels are located
at the trailhead and restrooms for your convenience.
prepared for mosquitoes and sandflies; wear a repellent
and/or long pants and shirts.
any problems, vandalism, and prohibited activities to the
Conservation Lands Manager immediately by calling 772-589-9223.
of the Conservation Area:
Approximately 14 designated species listed as Threatened or
Endangered by Federal and State Agencies are found on the
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