Many visitors flock to Delnor-Wiggins State Park each year. While the busiest time for the park is during the winter months when people from the northern United States frequent its shores to catch the sun’s rays, any time of year is a great time to visit this 166-acre state park. Many people are content to lay on its white sugar sandy shores and sunbath, but there are plenty of activities at the park for those who would like a more active trip. Some of those activities include kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding. Others love to come to the mile long beach to look for beautiful shells or to watch the birds that live in or migrate through the area.
While the water is often crystal clear, several times a year, the water becomes a rusty color. Many visitors become concerned about the change in colors, but it is just a result of the nearby mangrove forests. Park rangers invite people visiting the park to study the changes from day to day. The park’s characteristics frequently change because the park is mostly an estuarine tidal swamp. Therefore, the park may have wider beaches on one day than it does the next, and high and low tides regularly change.
About 80 percent of the park is a mangrove forest that shed about 80 tons of leaves into the water each year. When this occurs, it is a great reminder of the importance of mangrove trees to the fish that lives in the waters just off the shore. First, these trees provide a significant portion of the food that marine animals need to fatten them up before the enter the Gulf of Mexico where food is often scarce. These forests also help to protect the north end of Naples from destructive storms. The roots of the mangrove trees even play a role to stop erosion. The mangrove forest act as a natural filter allowing the waters around the beach to be safe for swimmers and others to enjoy them.
So the next time that you see rusty water at the park stop and be thankful that it is feeding the fish and other marine animals. You can also be grateful that it is helping to prevent erosion and that it is protecting Naples in the case of a storm.
Naples Beach Adventures
11135 GulfShore Drive
Naples, FL 34108
Parking Lot #4