Brochure of Colt Creek State Park in Florida - a paradise found in the heart of the Green Swamp. Published by Florida State Parks.
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History & Nature On May 31, 2006 this 5,067 acre parcel of land was purchased from the Overstreet family to become Florida’s 160th State Park. This acquisition was a joint purchase between the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Polk County Natural Resources Division with the Florida Park Service taking the role as the lead managing agency. The land was primarily purchased for the important role it plays within the floodplain of the Green Swamp region since the water that flows off the property eventually makes its way to four of Florida’s major rivers including the Withlacoochee, Hillsborough, Peace and Ocklawaha. Charlie Mack and his brother Stanley Chick Overstreet purchased the land from John Keen in 1940. Eventually Charlie Mack purchased his brother’s interest in the land and continued to operate it as a cattle ranch along with his son Mark. During their decades of ownership the Overstreets used the land for beef cattle production, silviculture (growing and harvesting pine trees) and hunting. In the 1990s the Overstreets engaged in a lime rock mining operation which included the digging of several large pits. In some places these pits are 50 feet deep. In fact, they are deep enough to reach the aquifer layer beneath the soil which allows the water to flow through that soil and up to the surface. As a result, the pits are now natural-looking lakes which provide additional habitat for numerous species of birds and aquatic plants and animals. Florida State Parks Florida Department of Environmental Protection Division of Recreation and Parks Colt Creek State Park 16000 State Road 471 Lakeland, Florida 33809 (863) 815-6761 Central Florida Colt Creek State Park FloridaStateParks.org Park Guidelines Paradise found in the heart of the Green Swamp • Hours are 8 a.m. until sunset, 365 days a year. • All plants, animals and park property are protected. Collection, destruction or disturbance is prohibited. • Pets are permitted in designated areas only. Pets must be kept on a hand-held leash no longer than six feet and well behaved at all times. • Fishing, boating and fires are allowed in designated areas only. A Florida fishing license may be required. • Intoxicants, fireworks and hunting are prohibited. • Become a volunteer. Inquire at the ranger station. • Adjacent properties allow hunting • Canoe and kayak rentals are available. • An entrance fee is required. Additional user fees may apply. Alternate format available upon request at any Florida state park. SM FLORIDA State Parks Created on 11/14 National Gold Medal Winner Florida State Parks - “America’s First Three-Time Winner” Real Fun in Metal Mark Pond SM Biking Welcome to Colt Creek State Park. The park offers over 12 miles of beautiful, multi-use trails which make for great horse-back riding, hiking and biking opportunities. These trails meander through the pine flatwoods around cypress domes, bottomland forest and past open pastures. Three tributaries flow through the park including Little Gator Creek, Gator Creek and the park’s namesake Colt Creek. While out on the trails you may come across some native wildlife including Bald Eagle, Eastern Bluebird, white-tailed deer, bobcat, river otter and Sherman’s fox squirrel. During a year-long survey for birds and butterflies in 2007, 150 bird species and 79 butterfly species were observed. So be sure to bring a camera along with you because you never know what you might see. A primitive youth camping area for organized youth groups is available as well as a primitive back-pack camp and a primitive equestrian camp. The youth camp is accessible by vehicle but the back-pack and equestrian camps are not. Reservations are required. Fishing is available at the three lakes between the two picnic areas. Some of the species anglers might catch include catfish, sunshine bass, bream, bluegill, shell-cracker and largemouth bass. Visitors may bank fish or use the fishing pier which extends 75 feet out into Mac Lake. Small boats may be hand launched but gas propelled motors are prohibited. Picnic pavilions, tables, grills and restrooms are available in two different areas of the park. The pavilions can be reserved by calling the Ranger Station. Birding Camping-primitive Camping-youth Main Entrance Canoeing Little Lake Fishing N W E S Middle Lake Geo-seeking Hiking Mac Lake SR 471 Mac Lake Nature Trail Service Road Horse Trail Picnicking Pavilions Directions Colt Creek State Park is located 16 miles north of Lakeland just south of the Withlacoochee River off of State Road 471. From I-4 take exit 32 and proceed north on U.S. 98 approximately 13 miles, turn right onto State Road 471. From I-75 take exit 301 and proceed east on State Road 50 for approximately 13 miles, turn right onto State Road 471. The entrance to the park is 3.8 miles north of US 98 and 17 miles south of State Road 50. N W E S N W E S Spur/Cross Trail Orange Trail US 98