Fort De Soto Park

It is amazing that a place so as beautiful could have been the training ground for something as ugly as war.

But for nearly a century the five barrier keys that make up Fort De Soto Park were used for various military purposes (not to mention that it is named after a slave trader and Spanish conquistador).

The Union Army was the first with its blockade of Tampa Bay during the Civil War. Later the garrison at Mullet Key rose in response to the Spanish-American War. The Army Air Corps practiced bombing raids on Mullet Key, the main island, during World War II.

Boots and fatigues have now been replaced with bikinis, shorts and flip-flops; rifles with fishing poles; bivouac with marshmallow campfires.

Emerald waters and white-sand beaches encase 1,136 acres of cabbage palms, thickets of live oaks and other hardwoods. Sea oats, mangroves, deep pools and a host of wildlife populate the park.

The natural beauty of Fort De Soto Park is what attracts painters such as myself. Over the years Fort De Soto has been one of my go-to places for painting Florida landscapes. Wetlands, a windswept beach, a footbridge and kayak shack are among my subjects. I look forward to producing many more paintings from Fort De Soto.

Over the years Fort De Soto Park near St. Petersburg, Florida, has been one of my go-to places for painting landscapes. Wetlands, windswept beaches, old footbridges and kayak shack s are among my subjects.

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