Calusa Island -- Inaugural Preserve
The Calusa Island Preserve consists of the western half and parts of the eastern portion of this island. Calusa Island is located immediately east of Shell Cut and north of Jug Creek, just off the northeastern tip of Pine Island.
Calusa Island is about 60 acres in size, the majority being comprised of black and red mangroves. There are uplands at the west end near Shell Cut and on 6 acres of shell middens toward the eastern end. Two private residences stand on the midden.
Calusa Island’s earlier occupants were indigenous people. Samples taken from the eroding north face of the Calusa Island midden date to the Late Archaic (LA) period (1200 BC to 500 BC). The Randell Research Center reported in 2016: “The LA people are greatly under-represented in history in large part because relatively few coastal LA archaeological sites are known to exist in this area. Because Calusa Island serves as a record of Southwest Florida’s LA people and their environment, it is a precious, rare ‘book’ in an already small library on the history of the Calusa people and their predecessors.”
The western half of Calusa Island was the first land owned by the Calusa Land Trust; it was donated in 1982 by Fred Johnson, Diane Johnson, Bill Spikowski, and Alison Ackerman. Fred Johnson later donated a large portion of the Calusa midden; and friends of Peter Ordway purchased the eastern end of the midden for the Land Trust in Peter’s honor. Fred Johnson still owns a portion of Calusa Island, as do Bill Spikowski, Alison Ackerman, Ed Chapin, and Gloria Andrews.
Fred, Diane, Bill, and Alison were the original founders of the land trust in 1976, when it was called the Calusa Land Trust and Nature Preserve Association. The current name was adopted in 1989 when the association was expanded to cover all of Pine Island and the surrounding islands. Bill, Alison, and Ed continued as directors and officers of the ‘new’ Calusa Land Trust for many decades.
Visitors to Calusa Island are welcome, but please remember to respect the privacy of the residents and the fact that this is an intact archaeological site. Please treat the island kindly & with respect -- take only pictures and leave only footprints. Enjoy.