Floridian Nature

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Florida Nature: Fort Foster Historic Site
Fort Foster in FloridaFort Foster (now known as Fort Foster Historic Site) was a fort in central Florida, located 9 miles south of current-day Zephyrhills. It was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on June 13, 1972. It is also part of the Florida State Park system, as it is in the Hillsborough River State Park.

The log fort and the wooden bridge spanning the Hillsborough River are reconstructions of the originals that were built here in 1836 during the Second Seminole War, said to be the most costly war in U.S. history. The fort was to safeguard the bridge and thereby maintain communication along the Fort King Military Road from Tampa Bay to what is now Ocala Florida.

Twice the Seminoles attempted to burn the bridge and failed. The frontier bastion remained garrisoned until June 1938, and during the last few months it's commander was General Zachary Taylor, later the 12th President of the United States. The Second Seminole war officially ended in 1842, but seven years later the Seminoles threatened again, and the fort was briefly reactivated.

The Fort may be visited only by one of the tours leaving hourly on week ends from adjacent Hillsborough State Park. A quarter mile trip by van from the park's visitor center takes you to a shelter 900 feet from the site. From there you will continue on foot along the old Fort King Military Road to the fort. Rangers, in the uniforms of those 2nd artillery soldiers who manned the fort in 1837, explain the events of that time and the life of the artillerymen posted there. An annual Fort Foster Rendezvous with skirmishes is held in February.


Hillsborough River State ParkBuilt in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corp, Hillsborough River State Park is steeped in history and natural beauty. Hillsborough River State Park is significant in the twentieth century history of Florida as one of 9 elements of the New Deal-inspired Florida state park system and as one of the physical expressions of early-twentieth century recreation planning. In 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was the first New Deal agency to begin operations in Florida. From 1933 to 1942 the CCC and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) programs constructed an impressive collection of facilities throughout Florida. The park consists of 1,040 upland acres, and 2,343 wetland/submerged acres for a total of 3,383 acres. Many activities are available at the park which visitors can access and enjoy. Hillsborough River State Park, which is noted for it's beautiful, lush scenery, flanks ten miles of riverfront, with some 3,000 acres of hardwood hammocks, pine flatwoods, and marsh.

The natural scenic beauty of the park is astounding and many trails offer the visitor the opportunity to experience this first hand. A popular trail is the Rapids Nature Trail. It meanders through oak hammocks to the edge of the Hillsborough River at the point where an outcropping of limestone rocks has created rapids. This area is a popular spot for photographers and outdoor enthusiasts.  The river provides opportunities for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking; a canoe/kayak launch is available on the river. For enjoying the river by being on it, the park has canoe rentals for visitor's convenience.

Hillsborough River State Park also offers 112 campsites, picnic areas, pavilions and the Spirit of the Woods Pool Side Café and Gift Shop. A swimming pool with a capacity of 216 swimmers is also within the park. From an afternoon picnic, an all day family reunion, an extended stay by overnight camping or a corporate gathering, Hillsborough River State Park provides an exceptional setting in a natural environment for folks to relax and reconnect with family, friends and colleagues.

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Fort Foster Historic site is located in the Hillsborough River State Park and is steeped in history and natural beauty. The natural scenic beauty of the park is astounding and many trails offer the visitor the opportunity to experience this first hand.
Fort Foster may be visited only by one of the tours leaving hourly on week ends from adjacent Hillsborough State Park. A quarter mile trip by van from the park's visitor center takes you to a shelter 900 feet from the site. From there you will continue on foot along the old Fort King Military Road to the fort. Rangers, in the uniforms of those 2nd artillery soldiers who manned the fort in 1837, explain the events of that time and the life of the artillerymen posted there. Hillsborough River State Park also offers 112 campsites, picnic areas, pavilions and the Spirit of the Woods Pool Side Café and Gift Shop. A swimming pool with a capacity of 216 swimmers is also within the park. From an afternoon picnic, an all day family reunion, an extended stay by overnight camping or a corporate gathering, Hillsborough River State Park provides an exceptional setting in a natural environment for folks to relax and reconnect with family, friends and colleagues.
Fort Foster Historic Site
Date published: 10/22/2013
3.5 / 5 stars