The gopher tortoise is on the threatened list and both the turtle and its burrow are protected by the state. (For regulation and penalties for destroying of burrows see Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website, Wildlife and Habitat Category.) Three hundred and fifty (350) species of animals depend on the burrows of the gopher tortoise. Because of this, the tortoise is considered a keystone species. They prefer upland forests, much more common in Blackwater River State Forest than Tate’s Hell.