2014-11-16 / Community

DISCOVER LOVERS KEY

Once A Pirate’s Lair
By Susan L. Suarez
Friends of Lovers Key


Fran Mainella, former Director of the National Park Service, will be the featured speaker at An Evening to Remember, a celebration of the history of Lovers Key, at Talis Park on Tuesday, December 2nd. Fran Mainella, former Director of the National Park Service, will be the featured speaker at An Evening to Remember, a celebration of the history of Lovers Key, at Talis Park on Tuesday, December 2nd. Today Lovers Key State Park Is For All

The four islands which comprise Carl E. Johnson Lovers Key State Park were once only accessible by boat. According to legend, pirate Black Augustus found refuge here in the last years of his life in the mid-to late 1800s. A century later, couples would come by boat to this secluded strip of white sand beach, eventually giving Lovers Key its romantic name.

Carl E. Johnson, the founder of Johnson Engineering, was hired by Lee County to design the Bonita Beach-Fort Myers Beach Causeway. Johnson recognized the unique beauty of these islands and worked to protect them forever as County parklands. He was instrumental in acquiring Long Key and a large portion of Lovers Key. Others joined the effort to protect these islands from development in the late 1970s and early 1980s, resulting in the purchase of Inner Key, Black Island and the re- maining portion of Lovers Key.

Today, Lovers Key State Park is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier islands between Keewaydin Island south of Naples and Captiva Island to the north. It provides visitors with a natural Florida experience and lets them discover the importance of preserving our fragile eco-systems.

The history of the park and the people who helped create it will be celebrated at a special evening event at Talis Park. Fran Mainella, director of the Florida Park Service when Lovers Key State Park was founded will be the featured speaker. Ms. Mainella later became the Director of the National Park Service, appointed by President Bush. Guests will enjoy exquisite food, wine, music and wildlife displays while overlooking the golf course at Talis Park.

If You Go:

An Evening To Remember

Tuesday, December 2, 2014
6 to 8 p.m.
Talis Park
16990 Livingston Road, Naples
Tickets:
www.friendsofloverskey.org
To learn more, call 239-463-4588.

Lovers Key State Park Timeline

1957– Carl E. Johnson convinces landowners
1962 on both sides of the future causeway to
sell their lands to the county
1965 Causeway opens, joining the barrier islands
between Bonita Beach and Fort Myers Beach
1980 Lovers Key Corp. (a group of private
investors) presented Lee County with a plan
to build 800 multi-family units on Black Island
and Inner Key.
1983 Lovers Key, Inner Key, and Black Island,
islands north of Carl E. Johnson County Park,
were acquired by the State to form Lovers Key
State Park.
1997 Carl E. Johnson County Park merged with
Lovers Key State Park.
Friends of Lovers Key was formed.
2014 Today the park welcomes over 900,000
visitors annually. Visitors enjoy the tram to
the beach, shelling, hiking, kayaking and a
multitude of other activities.

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