A meeting between leaders in Lee County took place Tuesday morning, and following a vote, county leaders decided in favor of opening some parks and trails.
The following parks and preserve trails will reopen April 22:
Lee County Parks & Recreation sites with trails
- Caloosahatchee Regional Park (north side only)
- Hickey Creek Mitigation Park
- JY Linear Park
- Lehigh Acres Trailhead Park
- Nalle Grade Park
- Pineland Monument Park
- Pinewood Trails Park
- Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve (excluding the interpretive center)
- Telegraph Creek Paddlecraft Launch
- Tropical Point Park
Lee County Parks & Recreation Conservation 20/20 preserve trails:
- Alva Scrub Preserve
- Bob Janes Preserve
- Buckingham Trails Preserve
- Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve East
- Galt Preserve
- Hickory Swamp Preserve
- Pine Island Flatwoods Preserve
- Pop Ash Creek Preserve
- Powell Creek Preserve
- Prairie Pines Preserve
- Six Mile Cypress Preserve North
- Telegraph Creek Preserve
- Wild Turkey Strand Preserve
A big reason behind this decision is people’s mental health.
“Mental health is huge right now and we know that people could go and walk through a Publix or a home improvement store right now. I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t also walk through a several-thousand-acre big park,” said Lee County Commission Chairman Brian Hamman.
The parks will be open and park rangers will be out patrolling, but bathrooms, playgrounds, and visitor centers will remain closed.
You also must practice social distancing rules when inside the parks and on trails.
A mental health expert said a little fresh air can go a long way.
“There’s so much research to show that getting exercise is such an integral part of your mental health. I mean some people believe that it’s as beneficial as medication, for example. It’s that important to get out and burn off your energy,” said Dr. Abbe Finn, associate professor and program director with Florida Gulf Coast University Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
Finn stressed that in times like this, it’s important we stay mentally busy, mentally alert, and connected.