Egmont Key State Park
|Egmont Key State Park & National Wildlife Refuge|
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
|Location||Hillsborough County, Florida, United States|
|Nearest city||St. Petersburg, Florida|
|Area||328 acres (1.33 km2)|
|Governing body||Florida Department of Environmental Protection|
|Area||450 acres (182 ha)|
|NRHP Reference #||78000946|
|Added to NRHP||December 11, 1978|
Egmont Key State Park is a Florida State Park located on Egmont Key, at the mouth of Tampa Bay, in the state of Florida, United States. It lies southwest of Fort De Soto Park and can only be reached by boat or ferry. The Egmont Key Lighthouse and the ruins of Fort Dade, a Spanish-American War era fort, are located in the park. Egmont Key is in Hillsborough County in a narrow strip of the county that extends along the Tampa Port Shipping Channel.
Located on the south end of the island is the Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge, which was established in 1974. It is one of the three 'Tampa Bay Refuges' and is administered as a part of the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Egmont Key was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on December 11, 1978.
Activities include sunbathing, swimming, shelling, boating, picnicing, touring the fort, and wildlife viewing. Amenities include beaches, nature trails, and picnic tables. Food, water, and restrooms are not available in the park.
The park is open from 8:00 am until sundown year round.
Egmont key was surveyed by Spanish explorers in 1757. In 1761, the English named the island Egmont Key for the Earl of Egmont. With the rest of Florida, it passed back and forth between Spain and England and finally to the United States in 1827  In 1847, concerns with hazardous navigation at the mouth of Tampa Bay led the construction of the first lighthouse. The Great Gale of 1848 swamped the island and all but destroyed the lighthouse. The lighthouse keeper reportedly rode out the storm in a rowboat tied to a palmetto. After the storm had passed, he rowed to Fort Brooke and tendered his resignation. In 1858, the lighthouse was replaced.
Defense considerations during the Spanish-American War led to the construction of Fort Dade. Egmont Key remained a military reservation for years. In 1974 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took over and turned the island over to the State of Florida in 1989 and it became a state park. In 2009, budgetary concerns led to a proposal to close the park.
Harbor pilot station
View looking east toward Fort De Soto Park.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- Tomalin, Terry. "Tampa Bay's sentinel, Egmont Key, about to be left unguarded." page L2. The St. Petersburg Times. Online. February 6, 2009. Online.
- Straub, W. L. History of Pinellas County. page 27. The Record Company. St. Augustine, Florida. 1929.
- Baker, Rick. Mangroves to Major League: a Timeline of St. Petersburg, Florida. page 18. St. Petersburg. Southern Heritage Press. 2000.
- Tampa Bay Online: Harbor Pilot's Egmont Key Station
- Egmont Key State Park at Florida State Parks
- Egmont Key State Park at Absolutely Florida
- Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Hillsborough County listings at Register of Historic Places
- Hillsborough County listings at Florida's Office of Cultural and Historical Programs
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