Water-Related News

Army Corps may close popular Franklin Lock beach on the Caloosahatchee upriver from Fort Myers

It’s 30 miles upriver from the Gulf and sometimes dangerously polluted, but a small, south Olga beach on the Caloosahatchee River is still a locally well-loved spot, and some residents are dismayed the government might close it.

To be clear, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam plus its recreation areas on both sides of the river, is considering only shutting down the waterfront sandy stretch — not kicking the public out of the whole place. In addition to swimmers and sunbathers, anglers, boaters, picnickers, campers and birdwatchers use the area, and could keep doing so, officials say.

But the waterfront beach fronting a buoy-marked swimming area would go, if the Corps' proposals are adopted.

That would be a heartbreak for people like Fort Myers resident, notary Cathy Whidden Solis, who's officiated at least 10 weddings on its pale sand. "So many people enjoy that park."