Signs of spring are showing throughout the park. The prairie iris have been showing their flamboyant purple bloom around the edges of marshes. Bright yellow tickseed is blooming throughout the park. Big flats marsh is awash in bright yellow and dotted with purple and white wildflowers. The marsh is a pallate of color and is spectacular this time of year and an array of wildlife is abundant...
Some content on this website is saved in an alternative format. To view these files, download the following free software or you can skip to the main content if you already have the appropriate readers.
- Use Adobe Acrobat to read Portable Document Format (PDF) files: Download Adobe® Reader®
- Microsoft Word file viewer and converter programs to enable those who do not have MS- Word or have another version of MS-Word to open and view MS-Word files: Download Word file Viewer
- Microsoft offers Microsoft Excel file viewer and converter programs to enable those who do not have MS-Excel or have another version of MS-Excel to view MS-Excel files:Download Excel file viewer
Prior to 1850, the Myakka River was the Asternal River on English maps. A Seminole Indian reportedly told a surveyor in the 1850's that the name of the river was "Myakka". The translation of the word Myakka, is unknown. Between the 1850's and the 1930's, cattle grazed on dry prairie, a vast land of grasses, forbs, palmetto and other low shrubs with thousands of scattered wetlands. In 1910, Bertha Palmer, a progressive business woman from Chicago, came to Sarasota and bought a vast amount of land. Meadow Sweet Pastures which was located very near the Myakka River was one of her purchases. (Visit Ranch House Road inside the park for more information about the Palmers). In 1918, Mrs. Palmer passed away. In the 1930's, during the Great Depression, over 17,000 acres of the Palmer estate was purchased by the government to develop Myakka River State Park as part of President Roosevelt's New Deal. The New Deal was intended to boost the economy and spirit of the American population during these dark years. More than 5 million young men around the country were employed to help preserve our natural areas. This employment allowed them to earn money to send home to their families. Myakka is one of 8 Florida State Parks developed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) during the 1930's. When the United States entered World War 2, the CCC was disbanded as all efforts were needed for the war. Myakka River State Park was formally dedicated in 1941 and was officially opened for the public. Many of the CCC structures built in Myakka are still used today. The Visitor Center, two picnic pavilions, 5 rental log cabins and roads are just a few of the things which are still enjoyed by visitors.