The Forest is approximately 600 square miles, nothing like out those West, but much of it pretty impenetrable to the usual explorer. There's much more wilderness connected too and going beyond it's borders.
There's been a lot of bigfoot hoaxes here with the fake feet and gorilla costumes, so much in fact that one serious research group called off their efforts from disgust and lack of verifiable physical evidence.
The Myakka River skunk ape photos are a bit startling but some claim are no more than of an escaped zoo or circus primate although officials can find no reference to such happening.
Sightings of the skunk ape go back to before Europeans arrived. Indian tribes such as the Creek, Cherokee, and Seminole all told stories of a creature that stood 5–8 feet tall and gave off a pungent odor. When Europeans arrived, they learned of the legends from the Native Americans. They reported that these creatures were dangerous towards white people and friendly towards the Indians. A famous example of this reportedly occurred in the fall of 1822.
In 2000, two photographs of an alleged ape, said to be the Skunk Ape, were taken anonymously and mailed to the Sarasota Sheriff's Department in Florida. They were accompanied by a letter from a woman claiming to have photographed it on the edge of her backyard. The photographer claimed that on three different nights the ape had entered her yard to take apples from a bushel basket on her porch. She was convinced it was an escaped orangutan. The police were dispatched to the house numerous times but when they arrived the Skunk Ape, also known as the stink ape, was gone. The pictures have become known to Bigfoot enthusiasts as the "skunk ape photos".
Loren Coleman is the primary researcher on the photographs, having helped track down the two photographs to an "Eckerd photo lab at the intersection of Fruitville and Tuttle Roads" in Sarasota County, Florida.