Kayak clinics and guided trips available. Please check flyers available at the visitor center for more information or visit our website at www.leeparks.org
Be a real friend to our wildlife: Stay a stranger
Paddling provides you with very close access to the abundant wildlife found in this area, but with that opportunity comes responsibility. Do not force or entice animals to change their normal behavior. They behave the way they do because it allows them to survive. Changing that behavior endangers their survival.
Stay far enough away from birds so they don't need to fly away for safety. Try not to force swimming animals into shallow water or follow them into creeks. Let turtles and alligators warm themselves in the sun undisturbed. Get up close and personal through binoculars or telephone lenses.
The animals you many see have established their diets over the millennia. Their food does not come from the grocery store or a fast-food restaurant, let along your hand. That flower your are tempted to pick is somebody's dinner.
Be careful with fishing line, hooks and lures. If you snag a mangrove branch (and you will), retrieve your line. Leaving broken lines hanging from trees or in the water endangers all wildlife.
If it goes out with you in your boat, it should come back with you in your boat. Whether it's biodegradable or not, if you throw it over the side, it's litter and endangers our wildlife.
These are wild animals. DO NOT PET OR FEED WILD ANIMALS.
. Tell someone on shore your destination and expected return time or leave a note face down or folded on your car dashboard.
· Check all safety equipment before you go.
· Carry a cell phone and /or VHF radio.
· Be aware of changing weather.
· Don't overload your boat with people or equipment.
· Children under 6 must wear life jackets. It is recommended that adults wear them also.
Boaters and Manatees
· Be alert in shallow areas: Manatees feed on seagrass.
· Wear polarized sunglasses. They help you see manatees better.
· Observe posted speed limits. Manatees' reaction times are slow.
· Watch the water surface: Circular ripples indicate their presence; watch for hairy snouts or tail swirls.
· Don't approach manatees when swimming, diving, or boating. Do not chase a manatee.
Beware: You may accidentally hook birds when casting and retrieving. Gently reel in the bird and quiet it by placing a town over its head. If the hook is in a place where you can remove it without hurting the bird, do it. Use tools to reduce trauma, such as pushing the hook through the skin, then mashing flat or cutting off bait. Or contact CROW-Clinic for the Rehabilitation of wildlife (259)427-3644. Do not just cut the line that's a death sentence.
Funding for sign provided by the West Coast Island Navigation District.