Larry Rescoe, Park Ranger at Lake Louisa State Park, was the guest speaker at the Kiwanis Club of Clermont on November 21, 2017.
Larry, who is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Clermont, has been a Park Ranger since 2001 and is a member of the State Emergency Response Team. His official title at Lake Louisa State Park is “Operational Park Site Ranger with Technical responsibilities.” He is also on the Board of Directors of the Faith Neighborhood Center, the South Lake Community Foundation and Hospice.
Larry stated that Lake Louisa is a 4500 acre park purchased by the state in 1973 and opened to the Public in 1977. In 2001 the campgrounds were all dirt roads the only access to the facility was from Lake Nellie Road. At that time, there was no entrance from Hwy 27 and there were only 4 employees. Today there are 16 employees (both full and part time) 30 full time volunteers and 12 people who spend months tending to the campgrounds. Today, the main entrance to the park is on U.S. 27 (seven miles south of State Road 50). The original entrance, which is located on the western side of the park off County Route 561, on Lake Nellie Road gives access only to a beach on Lake Louisa and to the horse trails.
Lake Louisa is considered one of America’s top 100 family campgrounds by Reserve America and in the past 9 years has been voted 3 times as “Best parks in the U.S.” It has full facility campgrounds that full are located between Dixie and Hammond Lakes. Larry added that the park offers kayak eco-tours, kayak, canoe and bike rentals, fishing, hiking, biking, camping, swimming, and guided horseback rides. There are equestrian campsites and group campgrounds that are accessible by trail.
Rescoe said the park has just about anything you would expect from a natural setting. It has a wide variety of wild-life such as white-tail deer, black panthers, gopher tortoises, wild turkeys, pumas, bobcat, fox, squirrel, raccoon, bald eagles, osprey foxes and feral hogs to name a few. The park is home to 11 distinct natural plant communities and lies within the eastern most boundary of the Green Swamp and the northern most boundary of the Lake Louisa, Hammond Lake and Dixie Lakes.
The park is open from 8:00 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year and admission is $5.00 per vehicle (Limit 2-8 people per vehicle) and $4.00 for Single Occupant Vehicle. Camping is $24.00 per night and Cabin Rental is $120.00 per night. There is a reservation fee for overnight stays. Larry also stated that there is a 15% discount for Veterans. At the conclusion of his presentation, President Elect, Chris Boylan thanked Larry Rescoe for an enlightening presentation.