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Lee County announces phased reopening of beach parks

Posted at 9:26 AM, Feb 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-15 05:30:36-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Lee County plans a phased reopening of beach parks in the coming months.

Lee County Natural Resources is overseeing the restoration of the natural elements while Lee County Parks & Recreation is overseeing the beach parks restoration, including facilities and amenities.

The hurricane damaged Lee County’s beaches and sensitive ecosystems with storm debris, pollution, and the removal of healthy, safe sand and dune vegetation.

Rachel Neff, who has lived in Estero and frequents the beaches nearby says she's surprised yet excited to hear about the phased reopening, "I would love to come back to the beach and get back to my normal way of living," something she hasn't done since before Hurricane Ian.

During the beach restoration process, the county has documented all work in order to get full reimbursement through federal funds.

Officials say this involves assessing and inventorying the damages, meeting FEMA criteria and participating in FEMA inspections, and determining eligibility for public assistance funding. The same goes for beach park facilities, which also were severely impacted. Parks & Recreation is following the important process involving documentation and inspections per FEMA standards to ensure local taxpayer dollars are not depleted on repairs.

Beach erosion assessments have been completed and transmitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), and FEMA.

Residents and visitors are advised:

  • Beaches and beach parks have not been restored to pre-Hurricane Ian conditions.
  • Some amenities such as restroom facilities, piers, and walkovers have not been repaired or replaced at this time.
  • Debris continues to wash onshore and quickly may be obscured by sand.
  • Beach shoes should be worn at all times.
  • Debris can still be found in near-shore areas, such as dunes or mangrove-lined coastlines.
  • Closure signs are posted where necessary, and has status updates.

Lee County's tentative opening plans for beaches and beach parks are:

Early March

  • Dog Beach
  • Boca Grande beach accesses


  • Alison Hagerup Beach Park on Captiva
  • San Carlos Bay/Bunche Beach Preserve, south Fort Myers
  • Bonita Beach Accesses 1, 4, 5, 6, and 9


  • Lynne Hall Memorial Park on Fort Myers Beach
  • Bonita Beach Park


  • Bowditch Point Park on Fort Myers Beach
  • Bonita Beach accesses 2,3, 7, 8, and 10, also known as Little Hickory Island Park
  • Crescent Beach Family Park on Fort Myers Beach

For Hurricane Ian information, visit

For Rachael and her mother, they're excited to see our beaches coming back, "I'm happy that they're starting to open things back up again, so we're just kinda playing it by ear and seeing what happens."