This past March during the annual reenactment at Fort Cooper State Park, there was also the inauguration of the four Seminole War Heritage trail Kiosks in the park.
We have seen the first, previous one that was finished a couple years ago. Now, the other three are up and completed. This is wonderful, because not only are they beautiful interpretive panels, but there are four of them.
The artwork is done by both Guy LaBree, who unfortunately past away last January 1st, and Jackson Walker.
The first kiosk starts off at the pathway to the restroom and far picnic area. You can still donate funds for a brick for your name on it, from the Friends of Fort Cooper. This is a three panel kiosk with a roof, and from what I have heard, this has become a model for interpretive kiosks in the entire state park system.
Going past the end of the main parking area where the fort trail starts, is kiosk number two. This covers Seminole life in the Cove of the Withlacoochee. The path is paved from here to the third kiosk.
Once you reach the third kiosk, there are the intersection of trails. The old military road is still visable, and we will take that path down to the final kiosk and fort site. There is also access to the Withlacoochee Trail from here, and 50-mile rail-to-trails pathway that is close by. Or you can be more adventuresome and take a park trail that meanders around the park from here.
But at this point, is the third kiosk. It talks about warfare in the Cove of the Withlacoochee. This was thought of as the stronghold of the Seminoles in the beginning of the war. The first year of the war had four campaigns that attempted to rout the Seminoles/Miccosukee, and their Black Seminole allies out of here, without success. And it was here the Fort Cooper was established to observe the area.
From kiosk number three, we will turn and walk down the dirt path, which is also the remnant of the military road. This is also where I have had the most wildlife sightings in the park, which would include animals like flying squirrels and woodpeckers.
We reach kiosk number four right before we arrive at the fort site on the lake shore. This kiosk is about the fort, and life of the soldiers here. The Georgia battalion was tasked with observing the Seminoles, which they did their observations for two week while under siege by the Seminoles, until relieved and evacuated by General Clinch.
As far as Seminole War interpretive panels, these are the best outside panels at any of the state parks, in my opinion. Great job to the Friends group for having these created. And to Ken and Kate Hughes, who were instrumental in getting it done.
I have made a video of the panels: