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Calusa Heritage Trail

Visitors to the Randell Research Center can tour the Calusa Heritage Trail, a 3,700-foot interpretive walkway that leads visitors through the mounds, canals, and other features of the Pineland archaeological site.  The Calusa Heritage Trail was sponsored by Dwight and Susan Sipprelle and funded in part by a Special Category Grant from the Florida Department of State, Office of Cultural and Historical Programs, Division of Historical Resources, and through in-kind services and the efforts of many volunteers.  Museum-quality interpretive signs along the improved trail provide visitors with detailed information regarding the Calusa Indians who inhabited the Pineland site, their culture and environment, and the history of Southwest Florida after the Calusa left.  The trail also features observation platforms atop the site's tallest shell mound, in addition to trail-side  benches and a boardwalk and bridge over low-lying areas.  Parking is available inside the main gate to the Randell Research Center at 13810 Waterfront Drive.  Public restrooms and picnic facilities are also provided.

The Calusa Heritage Trail is open daily for self-guided visits from sunup to sundown. Restrooms, book and gift shop, and classroom are open Monday-Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Guided tours are offered to the public during peak season (January - April) on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Groups may also schedule guided tours at other times by calling the RRC at 239-283-2157. Requested donations for visitors to the Calusa Heritage Trail are $7.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors, and $4.00 for children. Members of the Friends of the RRC are admitted free. Income from donations and memberships makes it possible for the RRC maintain this important archaeological site.

Map

Click on map to enlarge.

Directions
Follow Pine Island Road (Hwy 78) west through Matlacha to its end at Stringfellow Road. Turn right and go 3.1 miles to the intersection of Pineland Road on left. Turn left and go 1.2 miles (pass RRC headquarters next to Pineland Post Office) to end of Pineland Road at Waterfront Drive. Continue right along Waterfront Drive 0.2 miles, just past Tarpon Lodge to RRC sign and gate on right.

What to Wear and Bring
Because the Calusa Heritage Trail is out of doors, visitors should dress accordingly.  Summer conditions include heat, humidity, and frequent afternoon thunderstorms, and winter morning temperatures occasionally drop into the 40s or 30s, combined with the effects of wind chill.  In addition, much of the site is open to sun exposure, and mosquitos and gnats can be bothersome during the summer wet season. The following recommendations are intended as suggestions only:

  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Water

 

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