Activities

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Bicycling icon

Fort Cooper - Bicycling

Located at parking lot #2 is a half-mile paved connection to the Withlacoochee State Trail, a 46-mile paved multi-use trail.

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Fort Cooper - Birding

As part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, the park offers more than five miles of self-guided trails with excellent bird and wildlife viewing.

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Fort Cooper - Camping, Primitive Grp

A primitive group camp is available for organized groups. Three sites are available that can accommodate up to 25 people and one smaller site for 8 or less. The camp is nestled in an oak hammock with a fair amount of shade.  There are no showers or electricity. Portolets and potable water are available. There is a picnic table, grill and fire ring at each site.  An adult chaperone, 21 years of age or older, is required per 10 children. Reservations are recommended and can be made up to 60 days in advance for youth groups and 30 days in advance for adult groups by calling the park directly.

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Fort Cooper - Geo-Seeking

Geocaching is an outdoor game using hand-held global positioning systems (GPS) devices. It's effectively an inexpensive, interactive, high-tech treasure hunt that's a great way to learn geography. Participants use location coordinates to find caches. Some caches are easy to find; others are more difficult. The biggest reward is the thrill of the search and the discovery of a place where you have never been. Geocaching should have minimal impact to the environment and conscientious land use ethics should be followed.

The Operation Recreation GeoTour hosted by Geocaching.com, stretches from Pensacola to Key West and includes 71 of the First Three Time National Gold Medal Award Winning Florida State Parks and Trails. Visit 20 caches and win the Official Operation Recreation Geocoin. Download and print the Official Tracking Sheet to begin your adventure. Remember to cache and save with unlimited entry for a year with the Florida State Parks Annual Pass.

The Florida Park Service is proud to announce it has launched the Operation Recreation Kids GeoTour. Look inside Operation Recreation GeoTour geocaches for one of six possible Nature Cards. Every cache has one of six species. Record the name of the Florida State Park where you first find each of the six species on the Kids Official Tracking Sheet. Find all six species and win the ORGT Kids GeoTour Geocoin!

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Fort Cooper - Hiking Nature Trail

There are approximately five (5) miles of self-guided nature trails which include: The Dogwood Trail, The Fort Site Trail and the Sand Hill Loop. These easy to moderate self guided trails meander through hammocks and sand hill communities located within the park.   Along the trails you will find benches and interpretive signs providing insight into the surrounding areas. 

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Fort Cooper - Historic Site

The park is named for Major Mark Anthony Cooper, commander of 380 First Georgia Battalion Volunteers plus an artillery company of a few army regulars. In April 1836, Major Mark Anthony Cooper built a fort near the lake’s edge to protect the sick and wounded left behind by General Scott as he continued on his way to Fort Brooke, which is now Tampa. Major Cooper was ordered to hold his position and await relief troops in nine days. By the third day the Seminoles, led by Osceola and other Chiefs, discovered Major Cooper and his men. They kept them under constant daily attacks. On one occasion the Seminoles tried to storm the fort with a force in "excess of 500 warriors." After 16 days, with provisions running out, the troops in the fort were saved when a relief column returned to support them. Due to Major Cooper’s vigilant leadership during the two week siege, the Georgia Battalion sustained about 20 men wounded, but lost only one man. It is unknown how many casualties were taken by the Seminole warriors. Fort Cooper was utilized as a reconnaissance, observation and dispatch post until 1842 by various U.S. Army detachments.

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Fort Cooper - Interpretive Exhibit

A series of environmentally friendly and durable interpretive stations including multiple kiosks and signs strategically located throughout the park along currently maintained pathways.

Visitors are able to study a single panel to learn a segment of Seminole history or upon completing the entire trail will gain an overview of Seminole life.  The Fort Cooper Seminole Heritage Trail outlines Florida Seminole lifestyle and culture in the Cove of the Withlacoochee Region. 

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Fort Cooper - Pets

Pets are welcome as long as they are on a leash no longer than six (6) feet.  They are permitted in the picnic area, hiking trails and playground. Due to the sensitive nature of the beach area, where endangered nesting and resting shorebirds or tutles can easily be distrubed, pets are not allowed here or in the water. 

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Fort Cooper - Picnic Pavilion

A covered pavilion and BBQ pit are available for rent.  The pavilion will accommodate up to 60 people.

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Fort Cooper - Picnicking

Picnic tables and grills are located throughout the picnic area overlooking Lake Holathlikaha. 

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Fort Cooper - Playground

A small playground is available for children ages five (5) to twelve (12) years old near the picnic area.

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Fort Cooper - Weddings

The Lake Lodge is an ideal setting for small weddings and receptions.  This rustic building, which overlooks Lake Holathlikaha, has air conditioning, a fireplace and a full kitchen and can accommodate up to 47 people.  A beautiful gazebo is also available for the ceremony or a great location for pictures.  Call the park for more details and available dates for your special day.

For photos and more information, download Your Dream Wedding at Fort Cooper.

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Fort Cooper - Wildlife Viewing

The under story of saw palmettos, hog plum and sparkleberry provide a  perfect habitat in which to study nature.  There are frequent sightings of white tail deer, turkey and pileated woodpecker just to name a few.