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"Off limits" to off-roading: Protecting the Alva Scrub Preserve

Commissioners plan installation of new fencing to protect gopher tortoises and the natural habitat
Posted at 6:31 PM, Dec 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-05 22:35:19-05

ALVA, Fla. — Lee County Commissioners are addressing off-road vehicles riding in the Alva Scrub Preserve by planning to install new fencing.

Staff of the preserve say they noted a great deal of tire tracks from unauthorized off-road vehicles, causing concerns for the well-being of protected gopher tortoises and natural habitats. Since 2022, seventy-eight acres were added to the preserve that doesn’t have fencing yet.

Lee County says it’s standard to put fencing around the perimeters of the preserve. But, because there’s no fencing, preserve staff say people have been using the area to ride their off-road vehicles.

Rick Bauer, the Parks and Recreation Supervisor for Lee County, emphasizes the importance of the fencing, stating, “This is really just a preventative measure in order to ensure the protection of those gopher tortoises because they are such a keystone species to our ecosystem here in Southwest Florida.”

Bauer says fencing typically stops people from off-roading in the preserves. A proposed fencing project includes fencing in the needed areas and replacing some that is more than 15-years-old.

Bauer says the project should be completed by early 2024.