Water-Related News

Locals speak out against sale of Cayo Costa parcels

By McKenzie Cassidy

Locals on Captiva Island and Cayo Costa are upset about the state's decision to put designated surplus lands up for sale.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has been in the process of assessing state park land all over the state to determine whether they should be sold to purchase others deemed more valuable. The list has been revised multiple times, but since Sept. 12, it still includes 10 parcels in the Cayo Costa State Park totaling 14 acres.

On Tuesday, The Lee County Board of County Commissioners agreed to send a letter to the DEP opposing the sale of the Cayo Costa parcels.

Margi Nanney built a cabin on Cayo Costa in 1978 and worked with other islanders over the years to ensure the properties were acquired and protected by the DEP.

"For me, it's a slap in the face for so many of us who want to see our fragile barrier islands protected from further development," she said. "They are saying they want to trade up for better parcels, and I say, how you can get something better than what you've already got?"

Besides the thousands of people who visit the park on vacation, Nanney said the island is home to many fragile species. Approximately 350 sea turtles nested on Cayo Costa this season, she said, because the secluded island doesn't have excessive amounts of light pollution. Mangroves also provide habitats for fish during the breeding seasons, especially snook.