Staff at the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge will be resurfacing Indigo Trail before National Trails Day on June 7.
Refuge Manager Paul Tritaik said that the trail will be closed from May 13 to June 6 as it's resurfaced with shell rock and it will reopen just in time for National Trails Day.
"It's general maintenance and is something we have planned for a few years," said Tritaik. "We planned it around National Trails Day to get it done before then. It's something that the trail needs."
Indigo Trail at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge will be closed from May 13 to June 6 for resurfacing. PHOTO PROVIDED.
National Trails Day at "Ding" Darling will include Animal Olympics, Animal Tracking 101, hikes along Indigo Trail, and free access to Wildlife Drive for hikers and bikers only. The refuge's Education Center will also be open.
"We get a good crowd," said Tritaik. "People will take advantage of the outdoors."
He expects that the refuge will get more visitors than normal for this time of year.
What: National Trails Day at the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge
When: Saturday, June 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: 1 Wildlife Drive, Sanibel Island
Details: Visit the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society at dingdarlingsociety.org
The Cross Dike Trail, connecting the Indigo Trail to Wildlife Drive, and the new Wildlife Education Boardwalk will also be closed during the resurfacing project.
Wildlife Drive will remain open everyday but Friday.
Portable toilets will also be available for visitors who would've used the refuge restrooms on the Cross Dike Trail.
Tritaik said it's important for visitors to follow all signage.
"We want to make sure, for public safety, people don't access Indigo Trail from the Cross Dike. There will be a barricade at entrance," he said.
National Trails Day is an event organized by the American Hiking Society to celebrate the many diverse trail systems open to the public. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, a 1964 bill that established the National Wildlife Preservation System (NWPS) and set aside important lands for future enjoyment.
National Trails Day on Sanibel Island will be hosted by the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society. For more information on the event or the wildlife society, visit dingdarlingsociety.org.