New kiosks installed at the Bailey Tract
To improve visitor experience, two new kiosks and seven interpretative panels were installed at Bailey Tract earlier this month.
“(The panels) show them where they are and shows them where they can go. We added a little social media to them too. Our big hashtag right now is #DiscoverDing,” J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge Supervisory Ranger Toni Westland said.
Bailey Tract, which is a part of J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, boats 100 acres of trails. The new panels let visitors how to budget their time and gives a glimpse as to what animals they can expect to see. The new interpretative panels discuss the Sanibel rice rat, birds, pollinators, the history of Bailey Tract and the first “Ding” refuge ranger, Tommy Wood.
“We’ve never put anything out about our managers. He used to land his sea plane on a canal (in the Bailey Tract,)” Westland said.
In addition to the new panels and educational signage, a new welcome sign was also placed at the other entrance on Island Inn Road.
Westland plans to incorporate a chalkboard in the future on the larger kiosk so visitors can report their findings. The money for the signage came from a matching grant from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“You walk this and you feel like you’re in the wilderness – you don’t see anyone out here. You can bike it, people exercise here – it’s a whole different feel,” Westland said.
Admission to the Bailey Tract is free to the public. Visitors may enter through either Tarpon Bay Road or Island Inn Road. It open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset.