A joint acquisition effort between the District and the state, the preserve consists of various noncontiguous parcels that partially surround the Charlotte Harbor estuary and its major tributaries. All lands are managed as a state park.
The preserve is regionally important because it provides protection to the Gasparilla Sound/Charlotte Harbor, Cape Haze, Matlacha Pass and Pine Island Sound aquatic preserves. All these surface water features and their tributaries have been designated Outstanding Florida Waters. The preserve protects the water quality and natural resources in these adjacent sensitive areas and creates a continuity of habitats for wildlife.
The preserve contains vital mangrove and salt marsh wetlands with portions of freshwater marsh, coastal scrub, tropical hardwood hammocks and pinelands. The outstanding feature is its estuarine environment, which offers rich natural habitat and a diversity of wildlife. The preserve has an inspiring coastline with miles of open bay waters, tidal creeks and segments on the Myakka, Peace and Caloosahatchee rivers. Guided tours within the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center area are offered to the public from November to April.
- Site 22 on southern section of Great Florida Birding Trail.
- Contact Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for more information.
Boating and Paddling
- Available in open bay waters and along the Myakka, Peace and Caloosahatchee rivers.
- Boat fishing throughout preserve.
- Contact FWC for license requirements.
- Primary hiking trailhead off CR 776 with designated marked foot trail.
- Two designated hiking trails at Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center. One winds through pine flatwoods and one through salt marsh and mangrove forests.
- Contact preserve for trail maps.
Access and Parking
- Access to northern public use area in Punta Gorda Management Unit is off Burnt Store Road (not shown on map).
- Access to state park lands acquired by the District via a walk-thru gate off CR 776 and from the water.
Restrooms and Water
- Dogs must be on a leash no more than six feet in length.
- Owners are requested to pick up after dog.