Welcome to Friends of BERT: Bonita Estero Rail Trail

Our mission: To generate public support for the proposed 14 mile Rail Trail project. With our support, Lee County, Estero and Bonita Springs can acquire the land that the existing rail line is on and build a multi-use trail where community members and visitors can safely recreate and enjoy open green space, in a park-like setting.

By joining the Friends of BERT, Lee County residents have a chance to make their voices heard and gain a safe place to walk/run/bike. The feasibility study, conducted by the Lee County MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization), determined the best use of 14 miles of Seminole Gulf Coast railway. The study area is from Alico Road, south to Bonita Beach Road and would transform the unused, disintegrating rail corridor into to a beautiful, linear park with a 12-foot wide paved trail. This is Alternative 1 of the feasibility study and this option has full support from the Friends of BERT.

Who are the Friends of BERT?

We are an all-volunteer citizen group, dedicated to bringing the Bonita Estero Rail Trail (BERT) to Lee County and our communities. Our advocacy group started in late September of 2022 and currently we have over 2600 members. A big thanks goes out to everyone for getting out there and spreading the word. Let’s keep this momentum going. We also have 19 communities who offered official HOA board endorsements supporting this multi-use trail. This list includes: Pelican Landing, Pelican Sound, Bonita Isles, Hacienda Village, Bonita Fairways, Riverwood Plantation, Fountain Lakes, Forest Creek Villas, West Bay Club, Bonita Bay, The Club at Rapallo, Bella Terra, Copperleaf, Light House Bay, Estero Bay Village Residents Club, Toscana at Vasari, Bermuda Park Condominium Association, Meadowbrook and Spring Run with many more in the works. Combined, that represents over 16,000 homes in Lee County! The Blue Zone Project, Lee Health and the Bonita Springs-Estero Realtors have also offered endorsements. We appreciate everyone’s support!

Special Notice: The BERT Gear shop is currently closed. Look for it to reopen in a few days.

Purchase shirts and other merchandise by clicking on the Shop Now button below. If you would like to make a purchase using a credit card then continue through the shopping process all the way to the end where you can select your method of credit card payment. Thanks for supporting the Friends of BERT.

Friends of BERT Receives an additional Endorsement!

The Friends of BERT received an additional boost last week when Lee Health offered their official endorsement of the rail trail. This organization understands the important health and wellness benefits that this multiuse trail will provide to members of our community. Thank you Lee Health!

We also thank Bonita Springs – Estero Realtors and the Blue Zones Project for their endorsements!

Why Is BERT Important?

Improve Quality of Life: Bonita Springs and Estero need open space for families to enjoy our beautiful area. We need safe trails that connect to our towns and businesses, as well as connections to trails to the north and south of us.

Lee County is one of the worst counties in the US for pedestrian and bicycle safety. This trail, and its connectors, will give pedestrians and cyclists an alternative to the busy roads. Pedestrian safety data

2021/2022 Lee County Bicycle and Pedestrian deaths: over 1200 crashes resulting in 71 fatalities and 100s of permanent injuries. We have a chance to lower these statistics by building the Bonita Estero Rail Trail!

Boost Local Economy: Trails bring new business and visitors to our area. Home values near a Trail are significantly higher. Read this July 2022 economic impact study. Impact study Rails to Trail 2022

 “I moved from Venice to Estero in 2017 and didn’t realize what I had up there with the Legacy Trail!  I thought for sure there’d be something similar down here.Marion, Estero Resident

How to Get Involved

Stay in touch! Simply click on ‘Join’ from the menu selection at the top of the page and you will be added to our distribution list as a Friend of BERT. It is free and a great way to stay connected.

Attend Public Meetings! Let’s show our representatives we want this Rail Trail. Join as a Friend of BERT and we will keep you informed of opportunities to get involved.

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