Since the end of the Great Depression, this land was used primarily for cattle ranching. Charlie Mac Overstreet and his family cleared over 1,200 acres for pasture land. At one time during its peak production, over 1,000 head of cattle were grazing the fields. As natural-born conservationists they worked the land in a prosperous and responsible way. In the late summer of 2007, the Overstreets moved the last cattle off of the land and turned over their family’s farm to the state of Florida to further conserve this great natural resource.
Today this 5,600 plus acre Florida state park is located in the Green Swamp Wilderness Area near the city of Lakeland. This baby of a state park may be young but it doesn’t lack adventure, nature or history. There are several lakes on the property for some challenging freshwater fishing. These are actually old limestone excavations now stocked with bass, bluegill and catfish. Colt Creek State Park is named after one of the tributaries that flow into the Green Swamp and Withlacoochee Rivers that skirts along the edge of the property.
Shore fishing is pretty easy to do in any of the three lakes, as a gentle slope leads down to a short grassy edge. Fall months are particularly good for fishing as the foliage dies back and the fish devour food to gain weight for the winter. Anglers can find a dock in the near future like many of the other planned facilities in the park.
While many of the improvements to the parks amenities are currently under construction, such as the large covered pavilions that will be available for daily rentals, there are many organizations that take advantage of the park as it is now. Hope Equine Rescue regularly schedules benefit rides throughout the year on the many miles of horse trails that wind its way around Colt Creek State Park.
There are over 12 miles of multi-use trails in Colt Creek State Park. So whether you’re horseback riding or hiking, you can enjoy the fantastic pine flatwoods, hardwood hammocks and cypress forests of the surrounding ecosystems. And with diversity this big, larger animals like bobcats and the rare Sherman fox squirrels can be seen at the state park. Just remember, hiking the trails may be limited due to further expansion and construction to these fine trails until mid-2011.
For more information on directions or other park recreations at this great Florida state park, visit the website here.