Friends of Lovers Key State Park

Together, we protect, preserve and support Lovers Key State Park

We raise money to help the park obtain much needed equipment, and volunteer our time and skills to help with repairs, remove invasive non-native plants, drive the tram, lead interpretive nature tours, and work the ranger station.

We encourage you to join us in supporting our favorite state park. Get involved by becoming a member, volunteer or donor and bring your friends and family to our special events. Together, we can preserve our Florida coastal legacy and ensure that it is available for future generations.

In the News

Lovers Key State Park native plant community restoration a success!

As the exotic, non-native vegetation was removed, what remained were large bare areas. Now that most of the exotic vegetation has been eradicated, the habitats are returning to functioning ecosystems that support native plants and animals alike.

Thanks to 20 years of dedicated work by the Lovers Key staff and volunteers, the restoration of the native plant community of Lovers Key State Park has been a success!

When Lovers Key State Park and Carl E. Johnson County Park merged in 1995, vast areas of the park were covered with exotic, non-native vegetation including large Australian Pines. Due to prior development, much of Black Island lacked any vegetation at all! As the non-native vegetation began to be removed, the bare areas that remained needed to be re-planted with native vegetation.
   
To achieve the aim of restoring these areas, the park started a native plant nursery in 1997. Park volunteers and staff collected seeds from various native plants within the park and planted them in containers. As the exotics were removed, planting workdays were scheduled and these nursery-grown native plants slowly replaced the invaders.

Over the years, most of the exotic vegetation in the park has been eradicated. Lovers Key is now in the Maintenance Phase of exotic removal. This means that, since fewer and fewer non-native plants are being removed, the need for replacement vegetation has been reduced.
   
The native vegetation that has been planted has been very successful in reproducing on its own. Due to the success of our re-planting effort, Park Management recently determined to scale back the operation of our native plant nursery. From this point on, the nursery will be exclusively focused on growing rare or threatened native coastal plants and other native plants for the park’s Butterfly Garden.
   
When you come out to Lovers Key State Park, whether it’s to enjoy the beach, hike and bike the trails or kayak the estuary, pause and take a look around. Much of that restored native vegetation around you is due to the hundreds of hours that park staff and volunteers have put in over the years to make this native plant restoration a huge success!
President's Message – Visitor Center is underway!

Some seven years ago the FOLKS Board of Directors shouldered the daunting task of creating a Visitor Center for our Park. It made no sense that the second most visited Park of 174 Parks in the State system did not have a Visitor Center.

As you may have seen in the media, the Florida Legislature with the Governor’s approval has granted the Park Service the funds to make this dream a reality! Design of the building is now underway! Budgets are being developed and FOLKS is staying closely involved in the process.

Park visitors will experience a new and exciting range of classes, lectures, special events, fundraisers, community programs in our planned facility. We also plan to incorporate state-of-the-art exhibits that explain the unique variety of the ecosystems featured in our beautiful barrier islands.

There is still much to be done in the days ahead, and we pledge to keep you informed of progress through this letter. For now we wish to thank the many of you who have helped in realizing the dream. It has been the support of friends, certain individuals, community groups, and the efforts of the local governments of Bonita Springs, Estero and Fort Myers Beach that have brought us to where we are today. So stay tuned, there's more exciting news to come! And we will be asking for your continuing support! Thanks.

Rich Donnelly, President FOLKS
The Island Sandpaper recently published a great article on our Visitors Center! You can read it here.

More news

Season Finale celebrates Songwriters at Sunset Concert Series

Mark your calendar for next season!

songs-at-sunset

The season finale of the Songwriters at Sunset capped off a musical season of original acoustic music performed by members of the Americana Community Music Association (ACMA). Co-sponsored by FOLKS and the ACMA, the six concerts for the 2016/2017 Season entertained over 1,500 listeners from the gazebo stage right on the beach. Most of these listeners had never visited Lovers Key State Park before. Mark your calendar for next year's season which will begin in November and run through April, on the First Thursday of every month

Read more on our Events page >>

Reggae and Ribs bring dance to the beach

Friday March 24

ribs and reggae

Over 100 guests enjoyed a lovely evening socializing at Reggae and Ribs on Friday, March 24. The Dock Boys provided entertainment, and delicious BBQ was served by Texas Tony's. Photo by Shelley-Sue Williams.

2017 Valentines Day Vow Renewal a Lovely Success

85 couples renewed their vows.

vday

The ocean and gulls provided background music for the occasion, and Love was in the air on the beach at Lovers Key State Park. Couples were young and old, from newly married to past their golden anniversary. This hallmark FOLKS event is so popular that two must be scheduled to meet demand – one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Read more and view a slideshow on the Valentines Day Vow page.

FOLKS Give Energy to Lovers Key

Your donations and dues help FOLKS to help the park

golfcart

FOLKS recently donated funds to Lovers Key State Park to purchase 14 deep cell golf cart batteries and a riding mower clutch. These much needed items were requested by Matt Kruse, Assistant Park Manager, at our recent FOLKS Board Meeting and unanimously approved. This is one example of how your donations and membership dues can help FOLKS to help the park. Thank you for helping us to help the park!

Lovers Key State Park Manager, Robert Steiger

Bob brings a wealth of experience to our park

bobsteiger

Robert Steiger is no stranger to Lovers Key State Park. Before his homecoming in 2016, Bob served as Park Manager for both Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park and Lovers Key from 1994 - 1996; the parks were jointly administered at that time. Bob continued on at Delnor-Wiggins after Lovers Key’s 1996 merger with Carl Johnson County Park, at which point it gained operational independence and its own Manager.

Read more about Bob >>

 

Lovers Key State Park Interpretative Programs


Sea Turtle Talk
Join a park ranger to learn about the fascinating life of the marine turtles that visit Lovers Key each summer. Learn about their nesting behavior and find out what you can do to help protect them. Due to limited space, reservations are required. Call 239-463-4588.

Florida Manatee Talk
Join a park ranger for an interesting and informative talk about the Florida Manatee. Learn about Florida’s gentle giants and the threats they face. Due to limited space, reservations are required. Call 239-463-4588.

Lovers Key Fishing Clinic
Join park naturalists to learn a variety of tackle and fresh bait rigs, find out the best places to drop a line, and learn about the rules and regulations that pertain to game fishing in Southwest Florida.

Walk on the Wild Side
Take a mile-long guided hike along our Black Island Trail with a park ranger to learn about the fascinating vegetation and wildlife that reside in this maritime hammock.

Beach Walk
Take a leisurely one-mile walk along the beach to discover what kind of natural treasures wash up our shores. Learn about seashells, crustaceans, starfish and other creatures that can be found in our waters. Come prepared to get wet.

Beginning Birding
Explore the prime birding areas of Lovers Key State Park with a park naturalist. Learn how to identify the birds you see and where to go in the park for great birding. A limited number of binoculars will be provided.

Please note: Due to limited space, reservations are usually required. Call 239-463-4588.

"This is the place to go for a 'Truly Great Experience.' If you get a chance to visit, you will not have regrets…Kayaking, Fishing, Swimming, Hiking, etc."

Kenneth Petrie

Mark your calendar for upcoming events!

Please visit our Events page for complete information and our event calendar.

December 10, 2017

Santa on the Sand at Lovers Key State Park

Bring your children, grandchildren, and friends for an afternoon of lunch, games and prizes on the beach near the gazebo with Santa. We will be collecting unwrapped toys, which the Rotary Club will distribute to local children. Each child (aged 8 and under) who donates an unwrapped toy will visit with Santa and receive a small gift. Bring your camera or cell phone to take photos! Lunch will be provided for the children, and snacks for adults. Each family in attendance will be given a chance to win a fully decorated Christmas Tree donated by the Rotary Club of Bonita Springs.

Sponsored by the FOLKS and Rotary Club of Bonita Springs, space is limited to 100 children. Please RSVP with Judy Greenwood #708-359-0466 or email: fjgreenwood@gmail.com

First Thursdays of the Monday, Dec through April

Songwriters at Sunset begins new season

An intimate experience with local ACMA artists sharing their original Americana/Acoustic songs and background stories. The concerts at the Gazebo are free with paid admission to the park. The first show of the new season will be December 7.

Please allow time to reach the beach. Seating is available in the shaded gazebo for the first 80 people. Additional seating is available on the sand, so bring a beach chair and a few friends.

Park entry fees are $8.00 for vehicles with 2-8 people, $4.00 for single person in vehicle. There is no extra charge for the concerts. More Information >

Dec. 2, 2017

Great Outdoor Adventure Day

Rangers and volunteers will offer guided kayak tours, walking nature tours, bike tours (bike and helmets provided), geo-caching, fishing clinics, and more! Exhibitors will include local environmental organizations, as well as outdoor equipment and healthy lifestyle vendors. Great door prizes will be given away throughout the event. Make sure to check out one of the exciting paddle boarding clinics for kids, beginners, and advanced paddlers!

This community-based event is free with Park Entry. Park entry fees are $8.00 for vehicles with 2-8 people, $4.00 for single person in vehicle, and $2 per pedestrian or bicyclist. Guided Kayak tours will be $10/per person, kayak rental included.

Read more

February 14, 2018

Valentines Day Vow Renewals

Each year dozens of couples come to Lovers Key State Park to join in a ceremony where they renew vows and celebrate the moment on our beautiful beach.

Read more >

February 9 – 11, 2018

Nautical Flea Market & Boat Show

The Rotary Club of Bonita Springs and the Friends of Lovers Key are working to bring you the Lovers Key Nautical Flea Market & Boat Show.

Visit the boat show website»

May 12, 2018 at 8:00 AM

13th Annual Turtle Trot and Family Fun Day

This unique 5k trail course takes runners through a shady maritime hammock ecosystem, and ends at the pavilion over looking the beach where refreshments are served and awards are presented.

Proceeds from the race benefit the Friends of Lovers Key, Inc. a volunteer non-profit group that raises money to help protect, preserve and support Lovers Key State Park. Race Packets include an official Lovers Key Turtle Trot 5K T-shirt, official race number, course map, and more.

Registration fee is $35.00 for adults and $25.00 for youth (18 and under) through May 8th, 2018. Day of the race registration is $40 for all entries.

Lovers Key State Park is a focal point for the Community. The park provides not only natural beauty, Florida's trademark seashells, and a home for wildlife, but the best in outdoor recreation for visitors and residents.

Visitor Center

FOLKS has made its primary focus the development and eventual construction of a Visitor Center for the park. The purpose of the center will be to help visitors to the park learn about and appreciate the marvelous gem we have here at Lovers Key State Park.

See how you can help

The Friends of Lovers Key help create opportunities to learn, have fun, and give back to the Park. Whether your gift is financial, time or talent, the FOLKs want you as a member.

Volunteer

You too can be a volunteer! Many members of the Friends of Lovers Key State Park are also official State Park Volunteers, which give them a perfect excuse to spend more time at the park they love.

Find Out More

Take the Volunteer Interest Survey!