Description - The Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge rests several miles west of beautiful Ft. Myers / Cape Coral urban area offering anglers an opportunity to paddle through some of the Gulf's most pristine waters. Two boat launches are found along Pine Island Road / State Route 78, on the mainland and on Little Pine Island. These launches give paddlers an opportunity to explore the refuge areas along with the Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve. Birdlife and wildlife thrive throughout the mangrove swamps.
Copyright: - US Fish and Wildlife Service
Expansive Wetlands Amid National Wildlife Refuge
- Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge is located within the Matlacha Pass estuary Lee County, Florida. It is approximately 8 miles northwest of Ft. Myers. Designated by the State of Florida as an Aquatic Preserve, the refuge islands are part of a highly productive estuary that supports a diverse array of wildlife.
The islands contain two basic vegetative zones, upland sand ridges and mangroves. Fisherman Key, one of the largest islands of the refuge, once had fish camps and permanent residents. Several islands of the Matlacha Refuge are used as roosting and nesting sites for a variety of wading and water birds.
The beaches and shores provide loafing, feeding, and nesting areas for migratory ducks, shorebirds, gulls, and terns. Ospreys, which are listed as a priority species in the Regional Resource Plan, can be observed nesting and feeding in Matlacha Pass area.
Several endangered and threatened species benefit from the habitats described including bald eagles, wood storks, sea turtles, and manatees.
Recreation - Boating and fishing are the two recreations enjoyed around the islands of the Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge.
Climate - The climate in southern Florida is subtropical, with mild winters and hot, wet summers. It is not unusual for temperatures to exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit with averages reaching above 83 degrees Fahrenheit (above 29 Celsius). Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging above 64 degrees Fahrenheit (above 18 Celsius). Yearly precipitation for the southwest area is more than 56 inches. Lightweight clothing for hot temperatures is suggested. Long sleeves, pants, sturdy shoes and bug repellent are recommended if hiking.
The Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge is located several miles west of Cape Coral within the waterway, Matlacha Pass. The land is comprised of several islands.