05-Sep-2004 -- Located in the middle of the Florida panhandle, the intersection of 30N and 85W has its own campsite (#14), picnic table, and nearby public restroom at the Wright Lake Recreation Area of the Apalachicola National Forest.
The Apalachicola National Forest is an interesting blend of recreational opportunities, history, longleaf pine forests, savannahs, and cypress ponds. Many of these sights can be viewed by driving the Apalachee Savannahs Scenic Byway on the western side of the Forest. In addition to a confluence point you can reach without leaving the comfort of your car, it is this diversity of the Apalachicola National Forest that brings visitors back time and time again. However, in the middle of the long Labor Day weekend, the last Federal holiday of the summer of 2004, the attractive spot was completely deserted.
Nearby Attractions: When the excitement of visiting one of Florida’s most popular CP’s (and perhaps swimming with alligators in Wright Lake!) has passed, visitors have the opportunity to make a short side trip to hell (or at least Tate’s Hell State Forest), only 10 miles away. Even closer is Fort Gadsden Historic Site. According to their website, “For history or Civil War buffs a visit to Fort Gadsden Historic Site is a must.”
“Fort Gadsden has been part of Florida's history since the early 1800's. Originally built by the British as a base from which to recruit Native and African Americans during the War of 1812, it was abandoned in 1815. At the time, Garcon, a Black military leader, assumed command of the Fort. On July 27, 1816, Col. Duncan Clinch from Fort Scott in Georgia attacked what had become known as the “Negro Fort.” The Negro Fort was taken after a bloody bombardment. In 1818, Andrew Jackson instructed Lt. James Gadsden (for whom the fort is now named) to build new fortifications at the Negro Fort site as a supply base. Lt. Gadsden maintained the Fort until 1821. After that, Fort Gadsden was virtually forgotten until 1862 when the Confederate Army took control of the Fort. Via the Apalachicola River, it was a supply resource for Confederate troops in the north. After the Civil War, Fort Gadsden faded into history. Today, a tour of the Fort provides visitors with insight to life at a 19th century fort.”
However, on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, the entrance gate was tightly bolted, and although the temperature was in the 80s, there was a gentle breeze blowing, and the sky was clear except for a few puffy white clouds, a sign was posted saying “Area Closed Due to Weather Conditions.” Go figure…