As early as 9,000 years ago, Native Americans were mining the limestone formations on Little Gator Creek for chert, a flintlike stone they chipped into tools. These early people lived by hunting small and large animals and gathering wild plants.
All the virgin longleaf and slash pine were harvested on the area in 1903 and 1904. In 1928-34, a naval stores operation was conducted, and turpentine “faces” are still visible on many of the trees. A second pine tree harvest occurred in 1939, and bald cypress was harvested in 1949 and 1955.
Florida Department of State
Until 1970 when the practice of cattle grazing was discontinued, prescribed burning was conducted on a regular two-year cycle. Burning was conducted irregularly after that until state purchase in 1982. A limerock mining operation adjacent to the property controlled both the quantity and the quality of water entering the area. Water control structures were installed by the previous owner to direct water to the cypress swamp containing the wood stork rookery.
In 1982 the area was purchased under the Conservation and Recreation Lands Program from C.M. Overstreet, a local cattleman.