Gem Hidden in Plain View: Four Mile Cove ‘Eco Park’ is glimpse of days gone by
Dec 31, 2017 10:57AM
Cape Coral's Iwo Jima Monument was moved to the Veterans Memorial Area of the park in 1997. Photo courtesy of Cape Coral Parks & Recreation.
Gallery: Gem Hidden in Plain View - January/February 2018 [5 Images] Click any image to expand.
Many locals and visitors are unaware of this natural preserve, known as “Eco Park,” as they pass by each day on Veteran's Memorial Parkway. The Eco Park of the park does help to draw interest, but the park's treasures still remain hidden—all 365 acres of wetlands and mangrove swamps just waiting to be discovered.
“A gem hidden in plain view,” says Honey Phillips, senior recreation specialist in charge of providing guided tours at the park. “Our park offers a rare opportunity to walk through a mangrove forest on the elevated boardwalks. It's the perfect place for nature study or just a stroll down a beautiful canopy covered path.”
She adds that many people are surprised when they learn the park includes such a fantastic trail and boardwalk, two piers, a kayak launch, seasonal kayak rentals and an information center with bathroom facilities.
Once on the boardwalk, possible wildlife sightings include eagles, ibis, herons, other wading and migratory birds, raccoons and snakes. You can learn all about what the park offers at the visitor’s info center. “For those who would like to learn more about the ecology of the preserve and its abundant flora and fauna, we do offer guided walking tours and kayak tours,” Phillips notes.
The Great Calusa Blueway
“This Cape Coral jewel is best explored in dry months such as November through April. Its dense vegetation is reminiscent of Gilligan’s Island meets Robinson Crusoe. And be sure to check out the picnic pavilions on stilts,” the VCB states.
Inspired by the indigenous Calusa, the Blueway includes three separate distinct regions of the Gulf of Mexico coast. The first portion of the paddling trail snakes through Estero Bay. The second features Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass. The third portion of the trail takes paddlers inland to the Caloosahatchee River.
For navigating the river and tributaries on kayaks or canoes, Lee County Parks and Recreation provides maps and/or GPS coordinates of approved paddling trails. Included are locations of amenities in and around launch locations. Tips also explain how to safely traverse waterways while observing wildlife in this unique ecosystem, and how to protect its beautiful and fragile environment.
Veterans Memorial Area
And it’s the park’s Iwo Jima Monument that stands out the most. The monument depicts the famous image taken by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal on the Isle of Iwo Jima during the American victory on Feb. 23, 1945. Five U.S. Marines and one Navy Corpsman are immortalized in the iconic monument that shows the raising of the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi.
The story behind the Cape’s monument originates during the city’s early days. After sculptor Felix de Weldon crafted the original monument in Arlington, Virginia, he created two larger-than-life-sized replicas to travel the country during the 7th War Bond Tour in 1945. A third and final cast was commissioned in 1964 by the Cape’s developers, the Rosen brothers.
IF YOU GO
Written by Joe Yapello, a contributing writer for TOTI Media.