So, yes, maybe for some, Dead Lakes doesn’t represent much of a drive.

So, yes, maybe for some, Dead Lakes doesn’t represent much of a drive.

Could be around the corner, a short bike or walk for some, but the park, which includes a campground/RV park as well as recreation area, has so many treasures, a weekend might not be enough.

Too many pass it on the way to the beaches and that is a shame because it is a jewel.

The lakes were formed when the Chipola River was dammed near Wewahitchka in 1960.

The creation of a Chipola Cutoff canal diverted the river’s main flow from the cypress swamp to the Apalachicola River, altering the hydrology.

After many of the trees in the massive tupelo-cypress swamp in the flooded river floodplain died back and fishing declined, the dam was removed in the late 1980s.

Fish populations and species diversity has increased every year since.

In addition to abundant fishing, particularly bream and shellcracker in the spring, the park is also home to abundant wildlife, including foxes, cotton rats, raccoons, oppossums, white-tailed deer, skunk, beavers, turtles, snakes and alligators.

The park, with hiking trails meandering throughout, is full of longleaf pines, magnolias and bald cypress trees.

The camping/RV area is beneath a gorgeous canopy of long-leaf pines and rates for the RV and camping areas, with more than two-dozen sites, are extremely reasonable.

Campground amenities include hot showers, flush toilets, water spigots, picnic tables, fire ring, grill, water and electricity.

The boat ramp, with improved dockage recently put in place, is the fulcrum for the park and Dead Lakes is accessible by boat, canoe, and kayak.

The Florida Hikes website had this to say: “Centered around a strangely beautiful 6,700-acre lake with dark tannic waters and wizened ancient cypresses, Dead Lakes Recreation Area is more than just one of Florida’s most intriguing places to paddle. With a campground and hiking trails that wander off into the floodplain, it’s a great weekend destination.”

Once a state park, Dead Lakes Park became a county park in 2003.