COOPER STATE PARK
Lake Holathlikaha is the heart of Fort Cooper State Park. Spring-fed and crystal-clear, the 160 acre lake lured battle-weary volunteers to its banks in 1836, where they built and defended a frontier fort. Today, it charms thousands of visitors each year with its unique blend of beauty and history.The park is named for Maj. Mark Anthony Cooper, commander of five companies of the First Georgia Battalion of Volunteers during the Second Seminole War. In April 1836, Cooper's duty as to protect the sick and wounded left behind during Gen. Winfield Scott's long march to present-day Tampa. For 16 days, Cooper and about 380 men watched and waited, drinking from the waters of the lake and scanning the woods that rimmed its eastern shore. There were several skirmishes, but the volunteers held their own. On April 18, Scott returned with supplies and reinforcements, leading the men of Fort Cooper from their frontier sanctuary into new battles. The 710 acres that would become Fort Cooper State Park were acquired in 1970 from private owners. It opened to the public in 1977. The swamp and marsh areas around the lake, the hardwood hammock, and the sandhill communities provide opportunities to observe the extensive wildlife on the park's 10 miles of self-guided trails. Deer, fox, rabbits, owls, herons and cardinals are all residents of park.
The park offers primitive tent camping for groups of up to 20 people. Visitors can play volleyball and horseshoes in the main use area of the park. There is also a playground available.
Swimming, sunbathing and fishing are very popular activities at this park. The hardwood hammock is an excellent picnic area complete with grills, tables and pavilions. Pavilions are available to rent as are canoes and paddle boats which can be rented for a day of enjoyment in the lake.Some facilities and activities in the park are accessible to people with disabilities.
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