FL (October 14, 2016) Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast was awarded a grant of $639,080 for the boardwalk and kayak launch on Pine Island Preserve at Matlacha Pass from Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau’s Tourist Development Council Beach and Shoreline Funding. This grant was formalized with the recent Lee County Board of County Commissioners’ approval of the county 2016-2017 budget.
Conservation Foundation will construct a boardwalk and canoe/kayak launch at Pine Island Preserve at Matlacha Pass, creating a new stop on The Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail and enhancing public access to Pine Island’s new 230-acre nature preserve. This preserve will serve as the trail head for Lee County 20/20’s adjacent 190-acre preserve and be a premier destination for ecotourism, providing access to a total of 420 acres of wild lands and aquatic preserves. Trails will lead visitors to various wildlife viewing areas such as marshes and pine forests, home to Pine island’s most impressive bird species. The new structures will be constructed out of composite material for greater durability and ease of maintenance. In addition to the board walk and canoe/kayak launch, the preserve will include picnic pavilions, restrooms and parking.
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast purchased this preserve on the eastern shore of Pine Island in 2009 with a grant from the Florida Communities Trust’s Florida Forever Grant Program. Conservation Foundation developed this project in conjunction with the landowner, who sold the property at a discount and donated funds for park improvements and long-term stewardship.
By 2018, Conservation Foundation will open Pine Island Preserve at Matlacha Pass to the public, free of charge, 365 days a year. This park and nature preserve will serve as a trail head for Lee County’s 190-acre Pine Island Flatwoods Preserve; a stop on the Great Calusa Blueway; and give public water access to Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge, Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park, and Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve.
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast saves land, forever, preserving those special natural lands that make our region extraordinary. Working with landowners, businesses, and government, they protect the character and natural integrity of the bays, beaches, barrier islands and their watersheds on Florida’s Gulf Coast. A nationally accredited land trust, the Foundation purchases natural areas, holds land preservation agreements and educates for responsible land and water stewardship in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee Counties. Learn more at www.conservationfoundation.com.