Boat Ramp Closure
The boat ramp area is temporarily closed for improvements. The ramp, parking area and small picnic area adjacent will be inaccessible while the project is underway. Planned improvements are scheduled to include sewer connection, replacement of restroom building, increase in available parking and addition of a second ramp. The reopening of the boat ramp area is anticipated for late spring 2020. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to make the park safer and more enjoyable for our visitors.
Temporary Boardwalk Closures
Portions of the boardwalk system at the East Beach Picnic Area will be temporarily closed as staff works to re-deck the existing boardwalks. Thank you for your patience as we work to make the park safer for your enjoyment.
Temporary Playground Closure
The campground playground has been removed due to safety concerns. The swings in the campground remain safe and are available for use. Also, the playground at the West Beach Day Use Area is temporarily closed for repairs.
Big Lagoon State Park was acquired by the Florida Park Service in 1978 making it 42 years old this year. Historically, this area has evidence of prehistoric and historic occupation and visitation dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries. Changing water levels and glaciation impacts have created the altered topography throughout the park ranging from historical dune ridges and coastal scrub to scrubby flatwoods. Woodland (800 BCE-1000 AD) and Mississippian (1000 AD-1600 AD) period occupation is evident. One shell midden from the Woodland period was found in the park in 1983 after it had unfortunately been disturbed by prior park development. Native Americans utilized the fertile waters in this maritime habitat foraging on abundant shell fish. Another prehistoric shell scatter mostly consisting of oyster shell was found during coastal surveys in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, this site dates back to an unknown prehistoric period.
Recent history includes a 20th century site, referred to as the Miss Ivey site, she lived in a wood-built home in the area that would later become Big Lagoon State Park. She ran one of the first fast food restaurants in the area out of a mobile home--a burger joint for local fishermen and beach visitors.
Historic 1950s aerial photography shows most of this area being basin swamp or marsh, due to stormwater ditching the hydrology has changed making much of the northeastern area of the park a denser bay gall habitat. This hydrology change was due to the increase in developed neighborhoods surrounding all three landward sides of the state park.
Tropical systems including Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and multiple near misses in 2005 led to saltwater inundation that was documented to depths of 10 feet or more in the basin swamps. This led to an extreme change in the habitat with many trees not being able to handle the increase in saltwater in the water table which is evident by the number of snags throughout the park. Park staff continue to work to preserve, protect, and restore the Real Florida at Big Lagoon State Park with the use of many land management tools including surveying, conducting prescribed fires, and exotic plant management and control.