If you’ve visited a Lee County park lately, chances are you’ve met one of Lee County Parks & Recreation’s rangers.
The eight-member staff patrols more than 4,000 acres of developed park properties that include regional and neighborhood parks, beach parks, preserves, boat ramps and community centers. The Ranger Unit also employs two Conservation 20/20 rangers who are responsible for approximately 25,000 acres of conservation lands.
Rangers are out during various hours, including weekends, evenings and holidays. They ensure the safety of park visitors and protect the natural resources of the intricate ecosystems of Lee County’s parklands.
The park rules and regulations rangers enforce fall under the Lee County Ordinance 06-26 as amended by Lee County Ordinance 11-09. You can also view the Clerk of Courts Codified Ordinance here. The rangers are considered “Ambassadors of the Park” and provide visitors with information regarding park activities, accommodations and general information. Rangers also offer various environmental education programs, such as nature walks, wildlife programs and classroom presentations.
Rangers patrol on foot, in trucks, by ATV, by bicycle and sometimes by powerboat or kayak. They are essentially a specialized enforcement and public outreach unit. The acres they’re charged with patrolling also include 95 facilities.
“Our rangers are ambassadors for Lee County Parks & Recreation – often they’re the first person a person comes into contact with in our parks,” said Cindy Carter, senior supervisor for the county’s Ranger Unit. “They’re hard-working, dedicated men and women who want to help people enjoy the parks, facilities and natural resources armed with information and a positive regard for park rules.”
Rangers’ daily goals include:
Enforcement: The rangers’ first objective is park visitor safety and gaining compliance in park regulations in a positive, educational manner.
Education: Rangers provide natural resource education programs for park visitors of all ages at Lee County sites as well as school-aged children at the school sites.
Code enforcement: Park rangers are required to get Code Enforcement Certification, and they follow the standards of Ethics for Code Enforcement Officials and Courtroom Procedures and Presentations. Rangers work closely with local law enforcement such as the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.