National Public Lands Day
J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island will celebrate National Public Lands Day and Urban National Wildlife Refuge Day on Saturday, September 28, 2019, with a beach clean-up at its Perry Tract and a free film showing. The day, also a designated fee-free day by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), will offer free admission to Wildlife Drive.
All day long, Tarpon Bay Explorers [www.tarponbayexplorers.com] offers 25% off all bike, kayak, and paddle board rentals and its 8:30 a.m. Guided Kayak Tour Reservations are recommended at 239-472-8900.
A signature event of the National Environmental Education Foundation, National Public Lands Day promotes both recreational enjoyment and volunteer conservation of public lands. The FWS also celebrates urban refuges that day; “Ding” Darling is considered among the 101 urban refuges out of more than 560 total across the U.S. because of its proximity to a municipality and nearly one million annual visitors.
Wildlife Drive opens at 7 a.m. for free touring and closes at 7 p.m. Narrated tram tours will run at normal cost and schedule – 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 3 p.m. Visit www.tarponbayexplorers.com to reserve. The always admission-free “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center opens at 9 a.m.
From 9:30 to 11:30, Refuge staff will lead a beach clean-up of its Perry Tract area adjacent to Gulfside City Park Beach. City parking fees apply. All participants receive a free nationwide Public Lands Pass good for one use during the year. Those who aren’t here at that time can post a picture of themselves on social media cleaning up a local public land, using #NPLD. Email the picture to Toni_Westland@fws.gov to receive the free pass.
At 1 p.m., Refuge staff invites the public to a free showing of the 56-minute documentary The Forgotten Coast: Return to Wild Florida in the Visitor & Education Center.