Myakka River Basin - History
Archaeologists have found human burials 10,000 years old underwater in Little Salt Springs and Warm Mineral Springs. More recently, Timucuans, Calusa, and then Seminole Indians used the basin.
In the 1840's governmental surveyors described the area as "third rate pineland." Settlers successively gathered turpentine from the pine trees, timbered the trees, and raised open range cattle in the basin. Eventually the cattle were fenced in large ranches. Mrs. Potter Palmer's ranch became Myakka River State Park.
By the 1970's one ranch had become the North Port and Port Charlotte subdivisions, and in the 1980's Sarasota County purchased 24,000 acres from the estate of developer John D. MacArthur to develop a park and wellfield.