provided to Santiva Chronicle
The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge continues to evaluate the risk of its operations to visitors, staff, and the local community. In keeping with recent state and city directives as well as national guidelines, staff are developing a phased plan to reopen facilities as they meet staffing, distancing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, Acting Refuge Manager Kevin Godsea announced on Sunday, May 3.
• Wildlife Drive and its trails remain open 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. admission-free.
• Bailey Tract trails remain open, although its Tarpon Bay Road parking lot is closed to vehicles.
• The “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center remains closed until further notice.
• Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge’s recreation concession, will open when best management practices are in place and approved by the refuge.
• Refuge offices will remain closed to the public until further notice. Call 239-472-1100 ext. 237 or email Toni_Westland@fws.gov.for more information.
• “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge offices will remain closed until further notice. To contact “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society, call 239-472-1100 ext. 232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Refuge staff would like to remind everyone who continues to use Wildlife Drive and other trails to do so safely by keeping their distance from others. They also remind visitors that Wildlife Drive is a one-way road, and bicycle traffic needs to abide by the one-way rules.