It had been a while since I did some real trail running. Other than getting off of the pavement for bits and pieces of my runs, I hadn’t visited any of our excellent parks or preserves for some time. So when a weekend morning unexpectedly became free, my wife Maria and I headed to Prairie Pines Preserve just off U.S. 41 in North Fort Myers.
The weather couldn’t have been better, nor could the well-groomed and
managed trails. I’d been there when the park first opened and was
impressed with the work Lee County has done to make this preserve
accessible to the public and downright beautiful. At Prairie Pines,
horseback riding is part of the activities allowed along with foot
traffic, so dodging road apples is part of the challenge. Our five-mile
run barely got us into the actual preserve since the access trail is two
miles long. From that point, many more miles of trails exist that we’ll
return to explore when we’re ready for some longer distance on terrain
that we’re better prepared to handle (experienced runners know that too
much too soon on tricky ground takes its toll).
Key State Park is another park with miles of trails that are excellent
for both running and cycling. I mention that because on Saturday, May
12, its trails will be the location for the seventh annual Turtle
Trot 5K (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com).
Other great trail running opportunities with significant mileage
can be found at Caloosahatchee Regional Park and Hickey Creek Regional
Park, both in Alva but on opposite sides of the river, and Calusa Nature
Center (www.calusanature.com) at the corner of Colonial Boulevard and Ortiz Avenue in Fort Myers. For details of these and many more, visit the website, and the trail link.
The last few days of a transportation exhibit at Northwest Cape
Library concludes with a bike helmet giveaway from 1-4 p.m. Wednesday,
April 25. Recipients must be there in order to be fit with the helmet.
Over the course of a month, various organizations involved with traffic
safety, advocacy and automobile alternatives conducted activities and
learning sessions almost daily. Some of the offerings included learning
about and signing up for commuting options (www.commuterservicesfl.com; www.rideleetran.com); CarFit checkups (www.car-fit.org); traffic planning and management overviews (www.leempo.org); and traffic safety presentations, including Lee Memorial Trauma Service’s Young Driver Program (www.leecountyinjuryprevention.org).
This was part of the Taking it to the Streets campaign to get folks out
of their cars to try some other options while also logging their trips
so they can see for themselves the financial savings and other benefits
realized by doing so. The exhibit was a great success thanks to the many
partners involved. The staff of Northwest Cape Regional Library
deserves as much credit as anyone.
A few weeks ago, the Lee County Board of County Commissioners wisely
and courageously decided to resist pressure from builders who wanted
impact fees completely eliminated but instead adjusted them downward as
their staff and consultant suggested was the prudent thing to do. Many
from the construction and development industry lobbied for a complete
elimination (technically, they were asking for a two-year moratorium, but
we all know they would probably never be reinstated lest the elected
official who dares try be considered a “tax raiser!”). Fortunately, just
as many speakers from other walks of life made the case to keep this
important revenue source or we’d be shooting ourselves in the foot.
After the meeting, one county official astutely commented that the
bulk of the funds raised from impact fees goes right back to the
construction industry to build new libraries, schools, fire stations,
parks, roads and other capital projects, so it’s hard to understand why
those same folks are always seeking to eliminate the fees, especially
since they often argue that it’s not them but their buyers who pay these
fees. To learn more, go to BikeWalkLee's blog.
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails.
Dan Moser is a league cycling and CyclingSavvy instructor/ trainer and
programs director for the Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs
and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He can
be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 334- 6417.