Lee County is set to reopen beaches within the next three months, but health departments are still warning against entering the water.
While the gates at Banche Beach block access, people are welcome to walk past and check out the area. People WINK News spoke to said the official reopening of the beaches is another sign of recovery from the hurricane.
Bonita Dog Beach is the first set to reopen in early March. Lee County’s timetable said they would all be back at work by May.
WINK News spoke with beachgoers Brent Bensmiller and Stacey Dorian about the upcoming openings.
“We’re water people … we’re beach people, that’s what we do. So I’m glad we’re back here. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, you know, that’s why we all came here, if somebody moved here, if anybody’s from here, that’s the way it’s supposed to be,” Brent Bensmiller said.
“Very excited. “It was very sad to see all the destruction that was going on and it was very good to be back on the beach again,” Stacey Dorian said.
As for getting into the water, it’s a little different. The Department of Health still says it’s not a good idea. However, if you enter the water, wear shoes and beware of debris.
Just because the beaches will be open doesn’t mean all the bathrooms will be open either.
Below is a list of when certain beaches will be open.
Beginning of March:
- Dog beach
- Access to Boca Grande Beach
- Alison Hagerup Beach Park on Captiva
- San Carlos Bay/Bunche Beach Preserve, south Fort Myers
- Access to Bonita Beach 1, 4, 5, 6 and 9
- Lynn Hall Memorial Park in Fort Myers Beach
- Bonita Beach Park
- Bowditch Point Park in Fort Myers Beach
- Bonita Beach has access to 2, 3, 7, 8 and 10, also known as Little Hickory Island Park
- Crescent Beach Family Park in Fort Myers Beach
We advise residents and visitors of the city:
- Beaches and beach parks have not been restored to their pre-Hurricane Jan condition.
- Some amenities, such as restrooms, piers, and boardwalks, have not been repaired or replaced at this time.
- Debris continues to wash ashore and may soon be covered by sand.
- Beach shoes should be worn at all times.
- Debris can still be found in coastal areas such as dunes or mangrove coasts.
- Closure signs are posted as needed and status updates are available at www.leeparks.org.