Collier County

Trails Through Time

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR), in cooperation with local community partners, has developed a trail system to provide public access and interpretation of natural and cultural resources within the Reserve. Trails are designed to introduce visitors to the various native plant communities, ranging from mangrove-forested wetlands to upland buffer lands such as pine flatwoods and oak scrub habitats. In addition, the Reserve's trail system provides an excellent opportunity to learn about ongoing restoration projects, prescribed fire regimes, wildlife, protected species, and both historical and cultural resources of the Reserve. Furthermore, through the use of designated access points visitors can enjoy the Reserve's coastal environment. 

Trails Through Time Located near the end of Shell Island Road, the Trails Through Time is a series of three trails each approximately ¼ mile long. Botanical signage has been installed along the trails to assist visitors in identifying the various native trees and ecosystems. 

Shell Mound Trail This trail was designed and constructed by RBNERR through a collaborative effort with Collier County Public Schools. It follows a mangrove fringing shoreline adjacent to pre-Calusa historical sites and an active habitat restoration project. Through self-guided interpretive signs, visitors can learn about pioneers who previously lived in the Rookery Bay area, and the role the local community played in establishing the Reserve. 

Monument Point Trail This trail is linked to the Shell Mound Trail, providing visitors with access to Henderson Creek and the Children's Monument. The monument serves as a historical tribute recognizing the efforts of school children involved in helping to raise initial funds for purchasing core lands around Rookery Bay in the 1960's. 

Cat Claw Trail This trail was designed and constructed by RBNERR in collaboration with Collier County Audubon Society, The Conservancy of Southwest Florida and Friends of Rookery Bay. The trail follows a natural storm berm that traverses through a tropical hardwood forest, and provides excellent views of fringing red mangrove and black mangrove forests

Length: 0.25 miles

Difficulty: 1


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