About the Preserve
- There are no dogs allowed at this preserve.
Click here for a list of dog-friendly parks.
- Parking fee is $1 per hour per vehicle, maximum $5 for the day. Lee County Annual Parking Stickers are accepted at this location.
- This preserve has an elevated, fully accessible boardwalk (1.2 miles long) with restrooms near entrance, Amphitheater, and 5 observation decks
- Please respect the space and quiet observation needs of individual visitors by limiting cell phone use on the boardwalk to emergencies only.
- Running and jogging are not allowed on the boardwalk, and double-wide strollers are not recommended.
- There is an interpretive center with interactive exhibits about the Slough.
- Visit the "Rock and Stroll Garden", a native butterfly garden in the center of the parking lot
- Download the
Facility Map before you go
- Volunteer opportunities are available. Contact
Volunteer Services to learn more.
What is a Slough? (pronounced "slew")
A Slough is a long, narrow wetland with slowly flowing freshwater. The entire Preserve is over 3,500 acres of intermingled wetland and upland ecosystems. The appearance of the Slough changes with the seasons from dry (October-May) to wet (June-September). During the rainy time of year, the Slough catches and slowly filters rainwater on its way towards Estero Bay. Animals adapted to life in wetlands, like alligators, turtles, otters, and wading birds, live at the Slough year-round. Additionally, many types of migratory birds use the Slough as a rest stop and feeding area.
Field Trips and Group Reservations
- School field trips led by Slough Naturalists are available by reservation in October, April, and May.
- Smaller group tours are available by reservation in August-January & April-May.
- Contact park staff (239) 533-7555 at least two weeks in advance to check availability.
- School classes and other organized groups planning to visit (even without a guided tour) are still strongly encouraged to call ahead to ensure another group is not arriving at the same time.
- Groups arriving by tour bus require $5 daily parking fee and must arrange with the Sr. Program Specialist to reserve parking. Bus parking is unavailable during peak season (January-April).
- View group tour and private program information in our Educational Programs Brochure. Most of these programs are intended for school classes or family groups.
- Adults interested in group tours should refer to the Guided Nature Walks program in the above brochure.
- See our Teacher's Packet for group-use information, chaperone guides, activities, sunshine state standards and educational references
The story of how Six Mile Cypress Slough became a Preserve begins in the early 1970’s. A local high school environmental class, called the Monday Group, took a field trip to the Slough long before the boardwalk existed. So, how did they explore? The students weaved through the trees and waded into the water. They immersed themselves in the cool, freshwater of the Slough and fell in love with this sliver of old Florida.
Meanwhile, land development was beginning to escalate in Lee County. Knowing that the Slough could be drained and targeted for housing, golf courses, or other development, the students appealed to their mentor for help. Their mentor replied that it was up to them, the upcoming generation of environmental stewards, to save the Slough.
So, the students took action. Their passion for protecting the natural land that they loved drove them to approach their fellow citizens of Lee County. The Monday Group went door to door with a petition that they hoped would save the Slough. The petition proposed that Lee County residents would raise their own taxes in order to purchase and protect the land as a preserve.
The Monday Group succeeded in gathering enough signatures for a referendum to be placed on the ballot. When Lee County citizens went to the polls in 1976, the majority voted to preserve this special place called Six Mile Cypress Slough. That is why we are able to enjoy the Slough today. Because of high school students who loved a piece of natural Florida and fought to save it.