Skip to main content

Tenoroc - History

view of lake where phosphate was once mined

In 1881, the discovery of phosphate rock in the Peace River near Ft. Meade initiated the mining of the Bone Valley Deposit, a vast supply of phosphate, the key ingredient in agricultural fertilizers. Phosphate mining significantly disrupted the area’s natural drainage patterns by eliminating original wetlands and impounding water in retention areas. Before extensive phosphate mining began in the 1960s, the eastern portion of this area was part of a large wetland system at the headwaters of Saddle Creek, the uppermost tributary of the Peace River. The western portion of Tenoroc was part of a wetland system associated with Lake Parker.

view of man fishing by lake

The area that became Tenoroc was extensively surface-mined between 1950 and 1978 by the Coronet Phosphate Company, the Smith-Douglass Company, and Borden, Inc. The name"Tenoroc"is"Coronet"spelled backwards. In September 1982, Borden, Inc. donated 6,058 acres to the State of Florida. Two additional tracts were acquired through purchase: 341 acres with funds from the Non-Mandatory Reclamation Trust Fund and Preservation 2000 in 1998, and 986 acres through the Preservation 2000 Inholdings and Additions program in 2000. In 2012, the Williams Acquisition Holding Company, Inc. donated 770 acres to the State of Florida as an addition to Tenoroc.

Tenoroc currently exists as a mostly mined-over site, where lakes ranging in size from five to 242 acres provide quality public fishing. Two types – reclaimed and unreclaimed – offer different fishing challenges. Both types offer open-water fishing opportunities, but their water depths and shoreline configurations differ greatly. Boat ramps are provided on most lakes. Some lakes also have restrooms and picnic pavilions. Other recreational opportunities include trails for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding and an archery range and gun ranges for rifle, pistol, air gun and sporting clays.