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Home away from home at a Blackwater River State Park campsite. A kayaker paddles upstream surrounded by pines and river beach. Early morning steam rises on the water. A family enjoys a paddle together downstream.
Blackwater River State Park
A brilliant white, sandy beach contrasts with the tannin-stained Blackwater River.

History and Culture

Blackwater River State Park was established in 1967 and opened in 1968 with 360 acres. In 1981 an additional 230 acres were acquired from the Division of Forestry. The park and adjoining Blackwater River State Forest are known for their historic trams, sawmills and timber industry, especially near Milton. It is interesting to note the geographical distribution of mills along the streams and watersheds. When mills were at peak operation, everyone made trips to mills. The earliest roads led to mills and as the community grew, commercial ventures such as the blacksmith shop, livery and general store would spring up nearby.

Old steel Deaton's Bridge.

Old Steel Bridge

A park ranger monitors water quality in the Blackwater River. A structure from the past, the old steel Deaton's Bridge rises in the background.

Blackwater River beach.

Blackwater River

Blackwater River State Park was created to protect the waters of the Blackwater River. The beach along the river is still popular with water lovers as it has been for generations.

Smoke through the trees.

Prescribed Fire

The prescribed fire program at Blackwater River State Park helps maintain the ecosystems within the park.

Longleaf pines near the Blackwater River.

Longleaf Pines

This stand of longleaf pine at Blackwater River State Park represents a sensitive ecosystem that depends on fire to survive. Prescribed fire is one way park staff makes sure these habitats remain and grow for many generations to come.

A view of one of the oxbow lakes formed off the Blackwater River.

Oxbow Lake

Rivers like the Blackwater often have large meandering loops. When flooding or changes in course cause the loops to be cut off from the main channel, an oxbow, or u-shaped, lake is formed.