Lee County is going to start reopening beaches over the next three months, but health departments are still warning to not go in the water.
While a gate at Bunche Beach blocking access, people can absolutely walk by and check out the area. People WINK News spoke with said that officially opening the beaches is just another sign of hurricane recovery.
A view of the Bonita Beach Dog Park. CREDIT: WINK News
The Bonita Dog Beach is the first set to reopen at the beginning of March. And Lee County’s timetable said they’ll all be back in business by May.
WINK News spoke with beachgoers Brent Bensmiller and Stacy 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 out here. It’s how it’s supposed to be, you know, that’s why we all came down here if anybody moved here, if anybody’s from here, that’s what it’s supposed to be,” Brent Bensmiller said.
A sign posted at a Lee County beach. CREDIT: WINK News
“Very excited. It was very sad to see all the destruction that went on and very excited to be able to get back out on the beaches again,” Stacy Dorian said.
As for getting in the water, that’s a bit different. The health department still says that’s not a great idea. However, if you go in the water, wear shoes and beware of debris.
Just because the beaches will be open doesn’t mean that all the bathrooms will also be.
Below is a list of when specific beaches will be open.
Boca Grande beach access
San Carlos Bay/Bunche Beach Preserve, south Fort Myers
Bonita Beach Accesses 1, 4, 5, 6 and 9
Bonita Beach Park
Bonita Beach accesses 2,3, 7, 8 and 10, also known as Little Hickory Island Park
Crescent Beach Family Park on Fort Myers Beach
Residents and visitors are advised:
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 www.leeparks.org has status updates.