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 - 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 that included the digging of several large pits. In some places these pits are over 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, providing additional habitat for numerous species of birds plus aquatic plants and animals.