This park is a 710-acre historic and archaeological site in Inverness, Florida, which was added to the United States National Register of Historic Places on June 13, 1972, and tells the sad story of a land in conflict, but encompasses natural areas of beauty and tranquility.
Fort Cooper offers a spot for relaxing, hiking, studying nature and learning about Florida's rich history. The park’s diverse natural areas provide a refuge for many plants and animals. The inland woods feature hammocks of hickory, oak, magnolia and sweet gum. Beyond is the sandhill community — a dry, open forest of longleaf pines and turkey oaks. Sightings of deer, turkey, opossum and bobcat are common. Owls, herons and cardinals are frequently seen. Lake Holathlikaha is popular for fishing and boating; although private boats are prohibited, canoes and kayaks are available for rent when water levels and conditions are optimal.
As part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, the park offers nearly 5 miles of self-guided trails with excellent bird and wildlife viewing. The park's diverse natural areas provide a refuge for many plants and animals, including threatened and endangered species. A paved pathway connects the park to the multi-use paved Withlacoochee State Trail. Park visitors can enjoy the picnic facilities and playground under a hardwood hammock near the lake. The Seminole Heritage Trail kiosks are a series of four interpretive panels that provide insight into the lives of the Seminole Indians who lived in this area and the reason for Fort Cooper's construction.
The Seminole Heritage Trail at Fort Cooper State Park provides an opportunity for both seeing the park and learning its history. As you walk a 1.5-mile roundtrip path, four interpretive kiosks tell the story of the Seminole people and the trials they faced.
The Fort Cooper Seminole Heritage Trail outlines Florida Seminole lifestyle and culture in the Cove of the Withlacoochee Region. It consists of a series of environmentally friendly interpretive stations that include multiple kiosks and signs strategically located throughout the park along maintained pathways. Visitors are able to study each panel to learn a segment of Seminole history, and upon completing the entire trail, will gain an extensive overview of Seminole life. As the trail nears the Fort Site it includes information about Treaties, Indian warriors, chiefs and leaders of the Second Seminole War (1835-1842).
page information credit: Florida State Parks, Friends of Fort Cooper, Hernando Sun, JacksonWalkerStudio.com
photos from the sources listed above, as well as publicly posted online sites with thanks to the contributors