Lake Kissimmee -Florida
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Rangergirl141
N 27° 58.315 W 081° 22.812
17R E 462607 N 3094149
European man arrived in Florida in the 1500’s but his presence was not felt here until the 1800’s. During the third Seminole War Fort Gardiner was built nearby as a temporary fortification. Later the area was widely used for timber and turpentine.
Waymark Code: WM7EGZ
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 10/14/2009
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member Phleum
Views: 16

When we think of cowboys, and large cattle ranches and Indians riding swift ponies, most of us think of the Wild West. Long before domestic cattle were brought to the western part of the United States, they were brought to Florida. In 1521, Ponce De Leon, the discoverer of Florida landed cattle in Florida. Later vaqueros, as were called by early Spanish colonists, herded cattle on ranches between the St. Johns and the Apalachicola rivers. These early Florida cowboys were sometimes Indians, black men or descendants of the Spanish.
(100 years later…. 1621) Like in the movies these Florida cowboys had to fight off hostile Indians. The cattle came from Spain and would sometimes graze alongside small native buffalo herds, which then lived in Florida. Some descendants of these earliest cattle still roam over the Florida ranges. They are called “cracker cattle.” The horses used by early cowboys and Indians were also descended from Spanish horses. They were also called “cracker ponies.”

Between 1702 and 1704, the British soldiers destroyed most of the cattle ranches. Some years later Seminole Indians began to raise large herds of cattle near Payne’s Prairie…near Gainesville. Two famous early Indians who raised cattle were: Chief Billy Bowlegs and Chief Cowkeeper. Some herds were over 1000 head. Dogs were also used by the Indians to herd the cattle. Today one of the best cattle ranches in the U.S. is owned and operated by Seminole Indians at the Brighton Indian Reservation near Lake Okeechobee. Land that these early cowboys wanted belonged to the Indians and soon trouble between the white settler and Indians developed over grazing rights.

Florida's cowboy heritage comes alive with living history demonstrations of the early Florida "cow hunters" in an 1876-era cow camp.
During the Civil War the area was used for raising cattle that were shipped to the Confederate Army or traded with Cuba for supplies. After the war, cattle were the main industry and this continues to the present day.

**New Cow Camp Hours**
The Cow Camp is open from October 1st through May 1st on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.. The Cow Camp is also open on Holidays (except for Christmas Day) from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Cow Camps are available upon request year round for groups of 15 or more.

Offsite Cow Camps are available for schools, community organizations, special events, etc. Call the Ranger Station for more information.

Call (863) 696-1112 for more details.

White-tailed deer, bald eagles, sandhill cranes, turkeys, and bobcats have been seen in the park, located on the shores of lakes Kissimmee, Tiger, and Rosalie. Visitors enjoy boating, canoeing, and fishing in the picturesque lakes. Nature students can hike over 13 miles of trails to observe and study the abundant plant and animal life. Six miles of trails are open to equestrians. A large, shaded picnic area with pavilions is available. The park has full-facility campsites, as well as a primitive camping facility. The youth camping area can accommodate up to 50 people

**Information was gathered from the Florida State Parks web site and The town Of Jupiter web site**
Name of Park, Protected Area, or Cultural Location: Lake Kissimmee State Park

Name of System or Passport Program: Florida State Parks Passport Book

Passport Available: Yes, for purchase

Park Website: [Web Link]

Address of Station:
14248 Camp Mack Road
Lake Wales, florida United States

Parking or Entrance Fee: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
No special instructions, but a picture of yourself or of something unique to that place would be a nice touch.
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Recent Visits/Logs:
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Rivers End visited Lake Kissimmee -Florida 01/02/2014 Rivers End visited it
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Rangergirl141 visited Lake Kissimmee -Florida 11/15/2009 Rangergirl141 visited it
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