Florida State Parks 75th Anniversary Logo
Hop aboard one of the world's largest airboats, the Myakka Maiden or the Gator Gal, and take a scenic cruise on the Upper Myakka Lake. The birdwalk provides one of many opportunities at Myakka for birders to find an exciting lineup of birding experiences. Walk across the 85 foot-long suspension bridge and climb the 74-foot tower for a bird's eye view of Myakka River State Park. Myakka is known for its abundance of alligators.
Myakka River State Park
Fourteen miles of the Wild and Scenic Myakka River flow through the park. Bring your own canoe or kayak, or rent one from the Myakka Concession.

History and Culture

Myakka River State Park covers approximately 58 square miles. Twelve miles of Florida's Wild and Scenic Myakka River twines through a mosaic of pinelands, prairies and shady hammocks, bejeweled with thousands of assorted wetlands. Many of the facilities at Myakka River State Park were built in the 1930s by the men of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The five historic log cabins were constructed with hand-hewn pine and oak, and with the trunks of cabbage palms, and then chinked with tar and sawdust. Modern conveniences such as air conditioning, stove, refrigerator and bathrooms with shower have been added over the years. One cabin has been modified to accommodate persons with limited mobility.

The five palm log cabins were built in the 1930s by enrollees of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

CCC Palm Log Cabins

Ladies enjoy an afternoon at a palm log cabin in 1956. Like most of Florida's first state parks, the Great Depression's Civilian Conservation Corps was instrumental in the initial construction and establishment of the park. At Myakka, the CCC hand cut palm logs for the cabins and limestone for the fireplaces. The cabins have since been modernized for comfortable lodging. Today, the cabins contain linens, light thermal blankets, kitchen utensils, a coffee pot and microwave oven.

Frank Tucker built two tree houses near the current boat basin.

Tucker Tree Houses

Frank Tucker built two weekend get-away cottages in the 1930s. Realizing that the Myakka River flooded in the summer, he built the cottages in large oak trees. When the state of Florida acquired the land, the treehouses were moved to an area behind the log picnic pavilion. This was also the site of the first park concession. The state rented the tree houses to visitors and an early park ranger lived in one of them. The ravages of time finally caused the tree houses to be removed from the park.

Ranger Audrey Mead poses with orphaned fawn, Baby Snooks, in 1947.

Baby Snooks

This orphaned fawn was bottle-fed and cared for until she was strong enough to make the rounds in the campground. She soon learned to take advantage of her status as the only deer in town, going from campsite to campsite for handouts and attention. She was named Baby Snooks after a popular radio star of the day. Baby Snooks remained the darling of park visitors and nearby residents. Her own fawn was the star in the movie, The Yearling.

Park visitors enjoyed the birdwalk in 1947 just as they do today.

Birdwalk, 1947

The birdwalk at Myakka River allows experienced birders and beginners the perfect opportunity to search for the many species of birds that are found in the park. The birdwalk is dedicated to one of Myakka's first park superintendents, Allen Crowley, who died in 1972. As the birdwalk was one of his favorite achievements during his long career at Myakka River State Park, the Audubon Society erected a small stone monument in his memory.

A few of Myakka's first employees pose by Florida Park Service trucks.

Rangers on Duty

Park employees Rowe, Audrey Mead, Fred Schuck and William Harmon, in 1947, stand in front of the Ranger Station, which is now the Administrative Building. Two park service trucks wait in the background.