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-   -   "Ding" Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Fl (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/ding-darling-wildlife-refuge-on-sanibel-island-fl-993824/)

ANTS430 Oct 3rd, 2013 06:52 AM

"Ding" Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Fl
 
Does anyone know if this national refuge has been closed due to the government shutdown? I assume it has been shut, but I didn't know if you could still do the wildlife drive on bikes instead of cars?

NeoPatrick Oct 3rd, 2013 07:19 AM

Just a guess, but it's fully gated, so can't imagine it would be open to bikes and not cars.

jubilada Oct 3rd, 2013 10:04 AM

A two second visit to their website reveals it is completely shut.

Too bad, as it is wonderful.

NewbE Oct 3rd, 2013 10:20 AM

We were planning a weekend there in November or December--we shall see if that will be possible.

ANTS430 Oct 3rd, 2013 11:11 AM

Thanks for your input. I was hoping (wishful thinking) that there would be a place to gain bike access, even though the park was closed to car traffic. We will just have to hope for a resolution to the problem and the parks reopening before our trip.

Dukey1 Oct 3rd, 2013 02:31 PM

When the Government says a place is closed it means to everyone and everything regardless of the means of conveyance I would assume.

NewbE Oct 3rd, 2013 02:40 PM

I am not advocating breaking the law, but have lived near national lands that are always accessible on foot because they simply cannot be totally closed off. You can be sure that people in areas like that, who are used to their daily walk, are sticking to their routine despite the fact that what they are doing is technically illegal.

jubilada Oct 3rd, 2013 09:35 PM

Actually, Newbe, you are indeed advocating breaking the law.
Ding Darling without rangers is not the haven it is meant to be for the animals and I would hope that nobody would feel entitled to decide otherwise.

Ackislander Oct 4th, 2013 04:55 AM

The wildlife doesn't know whether it is the Darling refuge or not.

Driving slowly, riding a bike quietly, or walking in any of the less inhabited areas of the island, particularly near dawn and dusk, will turn up the same critters. Some of these are dangerous, by the way, both on and out of managed areas.

The State of Florida has a number of similar wildlife management areas on the mainland which will not be affected by the Tea Party.

NeoPatrick Oct 4th, 2013 05:06 AM

I'm not sure what you are saying, NewbE. If the sanctuary is clearly closed with shut and locked gates, are you suggesting people climb over those gates? Walk around the major fences and wade through shallow (alligator infested) waters to get into the closed area? What about using a small boat to access it, since most of it is fully surrounded by water? And if one can do this -- even though the signs clearly say closed, would you also advocate doing that at somewhere like Liberty Island and climbing the Statue of Liberty at night?

This may seem extreme, but perhaps you just aren't familiar with Ding Darling. It's not a place you can simply ignore a sign and walk into anyway. When it is closed, it is CLEARLY closed!

jubilada Oct 4th, 2013 08:02 AM

Ackslander, that is interesting. One of the reasons I don't care for Sanibel is that it seems so empty of wildlife other than at DD.

Ackislander Oct 5th, 2013 02:17 AM

Check out the Wikipedia article on Sanibel for birds, etc, and google "Sanibel Island Alligator" for the bad guys. Any of the less used canal areas will harbor alligators; most of these are on the west end of the island.

Birds of ourselves are mostly migratory, and what you see depends on when as much as where you look. When we wintered in Naples, we eagerly awaited the Royal Terms, who looked like 1950's juvenile delinquents with black jackets and buzz cut hair.

Ackislander Oct 5th, 2013 08:54 AM

"Birds of ourselves"? Was I drunk? No, just my blankety blank iPad deciding it knew what I really meant.

Honoria_Glossop Oct 6th, 2013 10:45 AM

Ding Darling was closed all summer to pave the road going through the area. It was scheduled to open October 1, 2013.

Here is the current announcement:
http://www.doi.gov/index.cfm

Honoria_Glossop Oct 6th, 2013 10:48 AM

You can see all the birds from almost any point on Sanibel. Low tide will provide more feeding birds like ibis, heron, roseate spoonbills. Several places off the main road offer opportunities to see alligators. I'm pretty sure you can take a kayak from Tarpon Bay and watch many birds in the rookery.

Most mornings, I can see more birds in the trees and lake behind my lanai than I see on Sanibel. Darling is lovely, but there are many alternatives.


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