visit Fritts Park / Big Jim Creek
Fritts Park / Big Jim Creek Preserve - Canoe & Kayak Trail
Great news! The Fritts Park Canoe & Kayak Trail has been cleared of Hurricane Charlie debris and is once again navigable all the way to Pine Island Sound (only at medium to high tide, as always).
This lovely paddling trial is a birders paradise as it winds its way down a series of channels, under the mangrove canopy, through Big Jim Creek and on out to the sound. One can catch glimpses of green heron and yellow crowned night heron in the mangrove tunnels. The shallow sand bars of Big Jim Creek are frequented by great blue heron, white ibis, American egret, and occasionally, if youre lucky, you might spot a handful of roseate spoonbills or a raft of white pelicans. The trail is a major link to the sound and the outer barrier islands. There is also a northern section to the trail that creates a loop back to the first canal. There are many interesting ponds and hidden coves to explore, as well.
In collaboration with Lee County Parks and Recreation, this site will be highlighted as a canoe & kayak launch on the map of Phase II of the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail. Marking of Phase II of the Blueway is nearly complete, connecting it with Phase I of the trail at Bunchee Beach in Fort Myers, by the Sanibel Causeway. It comes north then branches at Pine Island, one side heads west and north up Pine Island sound next to the barrier islands of Sanibel, Captiva and Cayo Costa, the other branch heads east and north up Matlacha Pass. The Calusa Land Trust has designated six places on its preserves as highlights on the Blueway. They include Picnic Island, designated as a camping area; Back Bay Preserve in Saint James City & Underhill Creek Preserve, both designated as paddling trails; the Saint Jude Trail, designated as a hiking trail/rest stop; Shell Cut on Calusa Island in Bokeelia, designated as a picnic/rest stop; and Fritts Park, designated as a canoe & kayak launch.
The canoe launch is at the northwest corner of Fritts Park. The park is located at the end of Beach Daisy Lane, a dirt road heading west off of Stringfellow about five miles north of Pine Island Center. The trail heads west and south following a series of mosquito ditches to Big Jim Creek, then westerly out to Pine Island Sound. It is approximately one mile from the launch site to Pine Island Sound. There are some interesting side trips that can be made in Big Jim Creek. Access to the creek from Pine Island Sound is about two miles north of Pineland Marina. This trail requires a medium to high tide to be navigable.
Fritts Park / Big Jim Creek Preserve
Marked Trail and Directions to Launch