FCHAP is enthusiastic about the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves and State Park and we want you to visit!
Staff members conduct Eco-venture trips in the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves (CHAP). These interactive trips inform the public about aquatic preserves and their importance, the ecological and economic benefits of the different estuarine habitats, as well as identification of the local estuarine animals. Animals often observed on these ecotours are dolphins, manatees, wading birds, migratory birds such as white pelicans, shorebirds, fish, crabs, and other invertebrates.
Habitats include seagrass beds, oyster reefs, tidal flats, mangrove forests, and rookery islands. These habitats support numerous species, including important recreational and commercial fishery species. CHAP offers two types of trips depending on the time of year.
- During the fall and winter months, the CHAP Nature Boat Tours offers visitors the opportunity to view this aquatic preserve from a boat.
- During the spring and summer months, participants snorkel to see firsthand the species diversity that the seagrass beds support.
These two-hour cruises are led by a licensed captain and environmental specialists from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection/Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves aboard a 25-foot Windsorcraft vessel.
Upcoming community events
- Coastal Cleanup (Keep Lee County Beautiful): Oct. 13 from 9 a.m. to Noon at various locations
- Cayo Costa Day (Friends of Cayo Costa State Park): Nov. 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Charlotte Harbor Nature Festival (CHNEP): Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
We sponsor paddling and wading trips annually. The Friends also provide opportunities to take guided hikes and if you would like to explore on your own, please visit the Old Datsun Trail (12301 Burnt Store Road, Punta Gorda, FL 33955).