SIX MILE CYPRESS SLOUGH PRESERVE
Facility_info
Address Contact Information Other Information
7791 Penzance Blvd
Fort Myers, FL
33966
(239) 533-7550
Mary Rude
(239) 533-7555
mrude@leegov.com
Friends of Six Mile Cypress Slough Programs
Free Guided Walks
Aerial Picture
Regional Parks Map
Download Brochure
Tour de Parks route
Park Overview Map (1024 X 768)
Panoramic View
Service Animal Policy
Photo Gallery
Directions Staff Events
Google Map/Directions Staff allocated to facility's budget Events Calendar
Hours
The following are prohibited in the preserve: alcohol, pets, fishing, bicycles, skateboards or rollerblades and the collection of ANY natural or cultural resources. This includes (but is not limited to) any plants, animals, shells or artifacts. Bike path is located along Six Mile Cypress Parkway.

Please respect the space and quiet observation needs of individual visitors by LIMITING CELL PHONE USE on trail to emergencies only.

Boardwalk Hours: Dawn to Dusk every day, year round.

Interpretive Center Hours: Tues-Sun, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Guided Walk Schedule: May-October: Wed only @ 9:30 a.m. April, November and December: Daily @ 9:30 a.m. January-March: Daily @ 9:30 a.m. AND 1:30 p.m. Guided Walks are limited to the first 20 people who show up (no groups of 6 or more). Private group tours are available for $3 per person. Contact Heather Gienapp by phone at (239) 533-7556 or through email at hgienapp@leegov.com.

Parking fee: $1 per hour per vehicle, maximum $5 for the day. Admittance to Boardwalk trail and Interpretive Center is included in the parking fee.

Lee County Annual Parking Stickers are accepted at this location.

Information
The Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve is over 3,400 acres of a wetland ecosystem. A myriad of animals like otters, alligators, turtles, wading birds, and more live at the Slough (pronounced "slew") year round. Others, like migrating birds and butterflies use the Slough as a feeding area or a winter home.

Trail:

Opportunities at the Slough:

  • View our Announcements to learn about ongoing activities at the Preserve

Educational Programs:

  • Educational Programs Brochure
  • Group tours and programs are available by reservation only
  • Avoid scheduling your group's arrival for regular guided walk times of 9:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m.
  • Contact Heather Gienapp at (239) 533-7556 at least two weeks in advance to check availability
  • See our Teacher's Packet for group-use information, chaperone guides, activities, sunshine state standards and educational references

View our Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve Photo Gallery here.


History
In 1976 a group of Lee County students studying the role of forested wetland in Florida's ecology became alarmed at how fast these environmental treasures were disappearing to private interests. The students, known simply as "the Monday Group", envisioned a place where visitors could stroll amongst majestic cypress trees and catch the whisper of Florida's primordial past. They sought an oasis where guests could observe the vast array of plants and animals that can live in a place which is sometimes land, sometimes water, sometimes both. In such pristine surroundings they hoped that people could begin to learn how wetlands provide priceless, but often hidden benefits such as water purification and storage, natural flood control and wildlife habitat.

Knowing that Six-Mile Cypress Slough was under imminent threat from logging in the channeling away of its water, the Monday Group launched a daring campaign to save it for future generations. Lee County voters responded overwhelmingly by increasing their own taxes to purchase and convert the Slough into a preserve. compiled by Volunteer naturalist, Gayle Schmidt

But worthy causes are not always easily won. Much effort was needed throughout the 1980s to protect the Six-Mile Cypress watershed from the results of outside development (pollutants, draining off of vital water sources). The Lee County Board of Commissioners and South Florida Water Management District found themselves more than once battling to maintain the integrity of the Preserve's water source.

These efforts culminated in 1991 with Lee County Parks and Recreation opening the Preserve's boardwalk and facilities to visitors. Today, Parks and Recreation remain challenged with balancing the needs of water conservation and wildlife management with the recreational needs of the public. As part of that, a growing cadre of volunteer naturalists educate the Preserve's many visitors as to the interrelationships of water, wildlife, plants, and man- fanning the flames of that torch set by Lee County students some two decades earlier.

We invite you to come and experience the uniqueness that is Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. Take a step back into the Florida that used to be and glimpse a future replete with possibilities. Complied by volunteer naturalist Gayle Schmidt