Bicyclist denied access to Barefoot Beach, Collier County gov denies involvement

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen
Published: Updated:
A visitor was denied access to Barefoot Beach last week. (CREDIT: WINK News)

A man is upset after he says he was denied access to Barefoot Beach in Collier County recently.

Ralph Pappas said he was given a note that was signed by “Collier County Parks and Rec,” but the county has denied any involvement.

It happened where the security guard entrance is, but security on the beach is not taking responsibility for it either. The Barefoot Beach Master Association is also denying it had anything to do with it.

In his 26 years of biking in the area, Pappas said he’s never had any trouble getting through security to get on Barefoot Beach Boulevard until last week.

“They told me to get out of there, that I wasn’t allowed to ride or walk down that street which, how was I supposed to get to a public beach if I can’t come down the street,” Pappas said.

Pappas said a guard handed him the note.

“And it said it was Collier County rules that no bikers walkers or cars could enter the park to get to the public access, and if you didn’t like that there was a phone number on there call and they would see what they could do for you,” Pappas said.

The note was signed ‘Wayne Muilenberg, senior park ranger’ for Collier County.

Collier County public information officer Daniel Christenbury said he spokes to Muilenberg, who said that communication did not come from him.

Christenbury said no one who works for the county wrote the notes.

But the security guard company said parks rangers gave them the notes.

“The Collier County policy is that all pedestrians and cyclists are welcome inside the park, even when the parking lot is full,” Christenbury said. “We’re trying to get to the bottom of that miscommunication.”

Pappas said the note is the biggest problem.

“Like where did that come from? Like is anybody going to take accountability for that? I don’t know. Probably not,” Pappas said.

At this point, Pappas is right. No one has owned up to the notes or the directive not to let walkers and bikers through to the beach.

But the county said it’s working to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The message now is to always let walkers and bikers through.

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