Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder Mobile App – listing of nearby parks in the palm of your hand

We just discovered a fantastic (and free) iPhone App — Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder from the American Park Network, which provides users with a searchable database of every single state and federal public land in America. You can search the database based onImage location and the activity of your choice; whether you want to go boating, fishing, hiking, cycling, or even bird watching in a National Park in Florida (or any other state), the Oh, Ranger! app is a great resource for information.

Once users have chosen where they want to go, Oh, Ranger! helps as a virtual guide. It gives users directions, necessary phone numbers, important weather information, food and lodging facts, as well as links to related sites. It’s significant to note that many of these features are actually embedded into the application itself, meaning users don’t need internet access (which is great, since access is usually poor in the middle of the wilderness) to get the information they want.

The parks database itself is extensive, and includes thousands of national parks, state parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sites, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recreation areas and a variety of other public lands. When I searched for “Boating” in the Fort Myers Beach area, the results showed 6 great Federal and State parks, plus 10 local parks.

In addition, Ford Motor Company will donate $150,000 to four non-profit organizations. Each non-profit will receive dollar from Ford for every vote/download.  If you have a smartphone, simply download the Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder™ Mobile App and vote for your favorite of the four: Boy Scouts of America, National Wildlife Federation, Outdoor Nation or the Student Conservation Association.This app is available for iPhones, iPads, iPod touch, and Android, and for those of you without a smartphone, all of the information available through the app can be accessed at OhRanger.com.

Visit the iTunes app store or go to the Oh, Ranger website to learn more and download the app.

Ten Great Reasons to Visit Fort Myers Beach, Florida

If you long for a vacation that consists of beaches, water sports, nature, history and culture, then Fort Myers Beach is just what you’re looking for.

Warm Climate

Fort Myers Beach enjoys a warm climate almost year round. The weather is mild with plenty of sunshine and cool breezes. Although January is typically the coolest month, the average high is 75°F, making Fort Myers Beach the perfect destination year round.

Enjoy the Beach

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that no trip to Fort Myers Beach would be complete without spending some time on the beach. Have a barbecue, go for a swim or just grab a good book and relax in the sand. The choice is yours!

Go Golfing

Florida is known for its wide variety of golf courses, and Lee County is no exception. With no cold season, the courses are open year round, but are less crowded in the warmer summer months of May to October. Nearby Fort Myers boasts many golf courses, but if you prefer, you don’t even have to leave Fort Myers Beach: The 18-hole “Bay Beach” course at the Fort Myers Beach Golf Club facility features 3,091 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 60.

Ride a Bike

With warm weather year round and a plethora of safe bike paths, local residents and visitors alike love to ride bikes in Fort Myers Beach. Rent a bike or bring your own and explore the many gems in and around Fort Myers Beach.

Go Birdwatching

Fort Myers Beach is a very popular tourist destination, but also provides excellent habitat for many species of birds throughout the area. Nearby Lovers Key State Park attracts American white pelicans, black-bellied plovers, rose-breasted grosbeaks and other colorful birds.

Go Fishing

Fort Myers Beach is well known for its plentiful fishing opportunities. This is the destination for a relaxing day on the water, whether you are a beginner who is new to fishing, or an experienced angler catching grouper, snapper, mackerel and cobia for dinner.

Try a New Watersport

If you’ve never tried Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) or kayaking, Fort Myers Beach is a great place to experience these for the first time. The calm Gulf waters and abundance of wildlife make this a must-do on your next trip to Fort Myers Beach.Cocoplum Beach House - things to do

Go Shopping

Come prepared for some great shopping. There are plenty of unique gift and souvenir shops in Fort Myers Beach, but if you’re looking to do some serious shopping, don’t miss nearby Tanger Outlet Mall and Miromar Factory Outlet Stores.

Spend a Night on the Town

After you’ve enjoyed the gorgeous sunset in Fort Myers Beach, the fun is far from over. Dozens of mouth-watering restaurants and thrilling bars and clubs make for an unforgettable evening in this city.

Great Accommodations

As a tourism destination, there are countless accommodation options in Fort Myers Beach. There are plenty of choices for every possible price range and budget. Whether you’re getting away for a romantic weekend or a family vacation, Fort Myers Beach has just what you’re looking for.

With these ten great reasons to visit Fort Myers Beach, Florida, what are you waiting for? Make Fort Myers Beach your next vacation destination. You’ll be glad you did!

Help endangered sea turtles nesting on our beaches

It’s sea turtle nesting season again! Each summer, threatened and endangered marine turtles nest along our beaches. Two months later, tiny turtle hatchlings emerge from their sandy nests and quickly race to the sea, using the seaward horizon as their guiding light. Sadly, artificial light visible from the beach lures the sea turtles inland, away from the water. Thousands of sea turtles die needlessly every year because of lights along beaches that were not turned off or properly shielded.

What can you do to help? While vacationing in Fort Myers Beach during May 1 through October 31, from 9:00 p.m. To 7:00 a.m.:

– shield all sources of light visible from the beach
– use 25 watt yellow bug lights or amber colored LED lights
– close blinds or curtains after dark, preventing light from spilling out toward the beach
– remove all beach furniture and equipment from the beach each night

Thank you for your help in ensuring the continued survival of our threatened and endangered sea turtles.

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Geocaching Beach Clean-up Event — Saturday, March 31, 2012, at Lovers Key State Park

Cache In Trash Out (CITO; pronounced “see-toe”) is an ongoing initiative practiced by geocachers worldwide. Geocaching is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online. If you’ve never heard of Geocaching, here’s a 2 minute video that explains what it is — but I warn you, it’s addictive!

Cachers are dedicated to helping the environment by picking up trash in parks and other cache-friendly places to help preserve the natural beauty. CITO events are held year-round, and focus on litter clean-up, removal of invasive exotic plants, re-vegetation of native species, and building or maintaining trails.

The international CITO weekend is traditionally set around Earth Day, which is in late April this year. Rain or shine, let’s get together on Saturday, March 31st. You don’t have to be a cacher to participate – but if you’re not careful, you might just catch the bug! There will be a few extra caches placed just for this event. Those coordinates will be available at the park on Saturday.

Entry fees for participants will be waived by the park. Meet at the shelter in parking lot #3 (coordinates will be posted later) at 10:00 a.m. The park will provide trash bags and pickers. They’ll also have a limited supply of work gloves, but recommend you bring your own if you have them. Cachers will be divided into groups to tackle the shoreline and trails, and then meet back at the shelter at noon for lunch.

The park is providing the hot dogs. They ask that you help out by bringing one of the following items, based on your LAST NAME (not geo-name):

• A thru E – Drinks
• F thru J – Salad – potato, pasta, beans, etc.
• K thru O – Desserts, fruit tray, etc.
• P thru S – Veggies or snacks
• T thru Z – Paper & plastic products – plates, cups, eatin’ irons, etc.

As with any outdoor event, we strongly recommend you bring sunscreen, bug spray, and a supply of water.

This event will be posted to the Lovers Key CITO event page. Please post your “WILL ATTEND” and indicate how many will be in your party, as well as the item you’ll bring based on the list above. They’re requesting RSVPs by March 28th in order to have enough food for all.

For more information on this event, please check the Friends of Lovers Key website .

Got Calusa Blueway app?

Lee County Parks and Recreation has announced the release of the free Calusa Blueway iPhone app. This first-of-its-kind app will allow canoeists, SUPaddlers and kayakers to more easily navigate Estero Bay, home to the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail. This app provides GPS coordinates, interactive trail maps and navigation, boating tips and regulations, as well as a key to Fort Myers Beach’s flora, fauna and wildlife. You can download the app at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blueway/id463562993?mt=8.