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Naming Southwest Florida’s best tourist attraction

By Staff | Apr 27, 2012

The “best tourist attraction” reportedly is the entire Sanibel barrier island conservation-zoned beaches on the Gulf of Mexico seaward of the Lee County Coastal Construction Setback Line (CCSL); however, the beaches are not equal.

Walking the beaches I have noticed that the beach nesting birds, such as plovers, tend to lay their eggs in the resort areas at the eastern half of Sanibel Island, rather than on the western half. Why?

The eastern half is generally de3feloped with resorts and teeming with people and pets;, while the western half is quiet, with single-family houses, and few people on the beach. Do the beach-nesting birds prefer hotels and activity? I don’t think so.

I suspect the reason is in the beaches themselves. The sandbars and tidal flats at the eastern end tend to be growing; while, at the western end beaches abruptly stop, are narrow, steeper, and tend to be eroding, more unsuitable for beach-nesting. The viability of these “best” beaches which sets this fragile barrier island apart, is at risk.

Commercial beach chairs congregating hotel guests on short stretches of beach and a proposed future re-construction of hotel swimming pools seaward of the Coastal Construction Setback Line to accommodate tourists, is overwhelming…makes me feel sad.