SIX MILE CYPRESS SLOUGH PRESERVE ../images/detail_photos/Six Mile Cypress pano.jpgSIX MILE CYPRESS SLOUGH PRESERVE Address 7791 Penzance Blvd. (Mailing Address) Fort Myers, FL 33966 7751 Penzance Blvd. (for Navigation) Google Map/Directions Contact Information Heather Gienapp 239-533-7556 HGienapp@LeeGov.com Facility Staff Events Events CalendarProgram Descriptions Hours Beginning March 9, 2018: A small section of the boardwalk trail is temporarily closed to protect wildlife. The closed section is between Otter Pond and Pop Ash Pond. The pond observation decks remain accessible to visitors.It's busy season at the Slough! Parking lot often full 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Consider carpooling, walking, or biking to this Preserve during peak hours. Bus parking is currently unavailable.Boardwalk: Dawn to Dusk, every day. Interpretive Center: Tuesday - Sunday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. The Interpretive Center will be CLOSED the following holidays: Memorial Day (5/29), Independence Day (7/4), Labor Day (9/4), Veterans Day (11/10), Thanksgiving (11/23 & 11/24), Christmas 12/22, 12/23, 12/24 & 12/25), and New Year's (12/29, 12/30, 12/31 & 1/1). Information 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. THINGS TO DO:Explore the boardwalk and quietly observe wildlife Visit the Interpretive Center and Rock Stroll Garden Take a guided walk with a Volunteer Interpretive Naturalist Attend a nature program Picnic (in designated areas only)KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: View our Visitation TipsPARKING: $1 per hour per vehicle, maximum $5 for the day. Please bring exact change. Parking machine accepts cash or credit cards (Visa or MasterCard only). Lee County Annual Parking Stickers are accepted at this location.Admittance to Boardwalk trail and Interpretive Center is included in the parking fee. Please park in designated spaces only. Riding your bike to the Preserve does not require a parking fee. Two bike racks are available to lock up your bike once you arrive. Riding or walking bikes along the boardwalk is not allowed. A bike path is located along Six Mile Cypress Parkway. FACILITIES:Elevated, fully accessible boardwalk (1.2 miles long) with restrooms near entrance, Amphitheater, and 5 observation decks Picnic Areas (first come, first served) Rock and Stroll Garden, a native butterfly garden in the center of the parking lot Interpretive Center Facility MapPARK RULES: The following rules apply to the entire Preserve property (including the parking lot and picnic areas): No petsNo alcohol or grilling No feeding or releasing wildlifeNo fishing No collection of natural or cultural resources, including but not limited to any plants, animals, shells, or artifacts.The following rules apply specifically to the boardwalk: No petsNo food or drink (other than water)No fishing No smoking No jogging, powerwalking, biking, roller skating, or skateboarding No radios or other loud noiseNo feeding or releasing wildlife No collection of natural or cultural resources, including but not limited to any plants, animals, shells, or artifacts.Please respect the space and quiet observation needs of individual visitors by limiting cell phone use on the boardwalk to EMERGENCIES ONLY.Double-wide strollers are not recommended for use on the boardwalk.GUIDED WALKS: No Guided Walk on Christmas DayRegistration: Opens 30 minutes prior to the guided walk at the boardwalk entrance. Registration is NOT taken by phone or in the Interpretive Center. Limit: First 20 people who arrive, with a maximum of 10 people per guide.Distance: 3/4 of a mileDuration: 90 minutes.Cost: FREE with your paid parking of $1/hour/vehicle. Allow at least 2 hours.ScheduleMay-October: Every Wednesday and 4th Saturday of the month at 9:30 a.m. Arrival 15 minutes prior to guided walk is encouraged.April, November and December: Daily at 9:30 a.m. Arrival 30 minutes prior to guided walk is encouraged.January-March: Daily at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Carpooling is strongly recommended. Arrival 30 minutes prior to guided walk is encouraged.PUBLIC PROGRAMS: The Slough offers a variety of nature-based programs for all ages. If you have questions about Slough programs, call Andee Naccarato (Sr. Program Specialist) at 239-533-7555. View our current schedule and register for programs on WebTrac. Click on "Browse Activities," then choose "Six Mile Slough" in the Location box.For Registration Assistance: On weekdays - 239-533-7275. On weekends, call any of the main Recreation Centers: Estero Community Park Recreation Center (239-533-1470) North Fort Myers Recreation Center (239-533-7200) Veterans Park Recreation Center (239-369-1521) Wa-Ke Hatchee Recreation Center (239-432-2154)FIELD TRIP & GROUP TOUR 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 Andee Naccarato (Sr. Program Specialist) at 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 referencesVOLUNTEER PROGRAM:Over 100 volunteers dedicate their passions to the Slough! Interested in volunteering? Contact Andee Naccarato (Sr. Program Specialist) at 239-533-7555 to receive an initial questionnaire.LEARN MORE: Boardwalk Trail Guide - A self-guiding trail brochure that includes a map and tips for viewing wildlife Plant and Wildlife lists Land Management Plan Video: "A Slough for All Seasons" View the winning video from the 2014 Video Contest Designated Great Florida Birding Trailsite Aerial image of Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. History 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.