FORT COOPER STATE PARK
The sparkling waters of Lake Holathlikaha were a welcome sight to sick and wounded soldiers during the Second Seminole War. In 1836, the First Georgia Battalion of Volunteers built a stockade for the soldiers resting here, enabling the Volunteers to hold their own through several skirmishes with the Seminole Indians. The park?s diverse natural areas provide a refuge for many plants and animals, including threatened and endangered species. Fishing in Lake Holathlikaha is a popular activity; swimming is available only when the lake level is high enough. Private boats are not allowed on the lake, but paddleboat and canoe rentals are available. Nearly five miles of self-guided trails offer some of the best bird and wildlife viewing in Citrus County. Park visitors also can enjoy the picnic facilities, a recreation hall, and primitive group campground. Located off U.S. 41 on South Old Floral City Road, two miles south of Inverness.
NATURE OF THE AREA
Wildlife at Fort Cooper State Park is abundant. Sightings of deer, turkey, opossum, bobcat, birds, and many other species is very common.
HISTORY OF THE AREA
The park is named after Major Mark Anthony Cooper.
In April 1836, during the Second Seminole War, Major Cooper was ordered to remain behind to protect the sick and wounded as General Winfield Scott marched south to present day Tampa. Major Cooper was left in the command of five companies of the First Georgia Battalion of Volunteers and a small artillery company. A field fortification was built on the western bluff of Lake Holathlikaha. Major Cooper was to hold this position as he waited for reinforcements.
Seminole War Chief Osceola and his Indian warriors encamped themselves across the lake from Fort Cooper. There were several skirmishes with the Seminoles, but the volunteers held their own. On April 18, General Scott returned with supplies and reinforcements, leading the men of Fort Cooper from their frontier sanctuary and into new battles.
The fort site was well chosen. The western bluff offered the strategic advantage of being nestled in the fringe of a hardwood hammock, while having access to a wagon road that was under the cover of longleaf yellow pine.
With higher water levels, Lake Holathlikaha offers excellent fresh water swimming. Contact the park for lake conditions.
Enjoy Lake Holathilikaha and all it's natural beauty by canoe or paddle boat. Canoes and paddleboats are available for rent at the park. Private boats are not allowed.
Lake Holathlikaha offers fresh water fishing. While private boats are not permitted, canoes and paddleboats may be rented. Contact the park for rental details. A fishing license is required.
DAY USE AREA
Nestled under large shade trees is a pavilion that will accommodate between 60 to 70 people. Great for large outdoor parties! A covered BBQ pit is located nearby. See our home page for rental pricing.
The hardwood hammock, along Lake Holathlikaha, is an excellent picnic area complete with grills, tables, and pavilions. The beach area accommodates volleyball, horseshoe, and playground activities.
Nearly five miles of self-guided nature trails give visitors a glimpse of the area's wildlife. The trails offer some of Citrus counties best birding.
Set within the park, this is an ideal setting for a small wedding, family reunion, birthday party, baby shower or a fun business meeting. A rustic building that has air conditioning, heat and a fireplace, the Recreation Hall can accommodate 50 to 60 people and comes equipped with folding tables and chairs. The small kitchen can be rented in addition. The kitchen comes equipped with a stove, refrigerator, and microwave. Please see our home page for rental pricing
Pets are welcome in the park as long as they are on a six foot leash. They are permitted in the picnic area, hiking trails and playground but are not allowed on the beach area, in the water, in the paddleboats and canoes or in our primitive campground.