The first donation of land to SCCF came in 1968 as more than 12 acres in Chateau-sur-Mer. This parcle of land was a vital part of the interior wetlands, and started SCCF on a long history of acquiring lands to make Sanibel and Captiva what they are today.
Since that first piece of property, we have acquired 1,860 acres within Pine Island Sound, and assisted in the facilitation of an additional 400 acres in land purchases.
Most of SCCF’s conservation lands are closed to the public. The entrances to these properties have signs that say “Conservation Area: No Public access” or “Closed: Entry by Permission of the Executive Director” and have either a wire or metal gate blocking access. The lands are closed to the public because they are being managed for specific habitats and wildlife. We try to minimize the amount of disturbances on these properties so wildlife is left undisturbed. However, we periodically need to maintain our firelines and access trails with heavy equipment so we can conduct land management activities. Having the properties closed to the public helps us to ensure that no one is harmed while conducting these tasks. Plus, many of these properties do not have maintenance trails and we do not want anyone getting lost on these parcels.
There are SCCF properties that have public access hiking trails that open during daylight hours. These trails are at the Center Tract (north of the Sanibel River), Periwinkle Preserve, Bob Wigley Preserve, Pick Preserve, Sanibel Gardens, and the Shipley Trail. Please visit the SCCF Nature Center to find out more about our public hiking trails.
SCCF Land Use Principles
SCCF lands are closed to the public and opened by permission only.
SCCF lands are private and are not to be treated as public/park lands to which the public has unfettered access.
SCCF land uses should be put into three categories:
1. Limited access - by permission only
- Criteria to be considered in granting permission:
- Environmentally sensitive nature of land
- Public safety problems
- Policing problems
- Proximity to developed areas - neighbor opposition, etc.
Those to whom permission may be granted:
- SCCF Members
- Educational program teachers and students
- Scientific research people
- Others - consistent with SCCF’s mission
2. Visitation Encouraged
- General public visitation encouraged.
3. Physical Plant and Facility Uses
- To be considered on a case by case basis.
By and large, SCCF conservation lands are to be posted. The text of this posting should be along the following lines:
- Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation
- Wildlife Preserve
- Acces by Permission Only
- Please call Executive Director
A log of visitors to Limited Access lands should be maintained.
In general, SCCF should not develop new parking areas for areas opened to the public; rather, it should use existing parking facilities.
SCCF should be vigilant and take prompt action to prevent trespass, abuse, misuse, and adverse possession of its lands; such action including, in the discretion of the Executive Director and Board of Trustees: advise and/or protest to the wrongdoer; extra posting, fencing and planting; publicizing the wrongdoing, recourse to code enforcement and police; and legal process.
Special events such as weddings, picnics, family and organizational outings, camping, and the like, should not be permitted on SCCF Category 1. Limited Access - by permission only lands; nevertheless, the Executive Director should handle requests for such events on a case by case basis, with due regard for these Principles, vital public and membership relations, and the setting of precedent.
(Adopted by the Board of Trustees on May 23, 2001)