Description & History:
Matanzas Pass Preserve is nearly 60 acres of unspoiled sanctuary located one mile south of the Matanzas Pass Bridge, just off of Estero Blvd. The preserve offers 1.25 miles of hiking trails that navigate through canopies of mangroves and an oak hammock, as well as a pavilion that overlooks Estero Bay. The preserve is home to many different species of wildlife and is designated a Great Florida Birding Trail site. There is also a paddle craft launching site that is part of the Great Calusa Blueway.
The Matanzas Pass Preserve was dedicated on January 20, 1979 as a sanctuary for native plants and animals. The preserve contains one of the last maritime oak hammocks in the area and was one of the first four-wetland ecosystems to be found in Lee County (maritime hammock, tidal swamp, Mangrove forest, and coastal grassland). The initial 22 acres of preserve were donated to The Nature Conservancy in 1974 by John Dunning with an offer to sell them the remaining acres. In 1994, the property was donated to Lee County by The Nature Conservancy.
Matanzas Pass Wildlife Preserve is free to use; however, please note that parking is limited.