On February 25th, Goats Coffee sponsored an event at Riverside Park called “Bonita Fest.”  This event benefited local non-profits and raised money for the Bonita Springs American Legion and the Bonita Springs Assistance Office to help toward recovery from Hurricane Ian.

The Friends of the Bonita Estero Rail Trail (BERT) were invited to participate so we set up our brand new tent and six very dedicated BERT volunteers talked to people for a solid 5 hours.  The outpouring of interest and support was almost overwhelming.  Everyone we spoke to wanted to tell us their story of why they wanted BERT.  About 8 people mentioned being hit by a car while riding a bike, others had been side-swiped by car/truck side mirrors.  The consensus was unanimous!  We need a safe place to recreate (walk/run/ride) away from traffic.  We had over 250 new members sign up that day which is a new Friends of BERT record.  Deb Orton and Emily Porter talked so much, they both lost their voices by the end of the day.  Both remarked, “We would do it again in a heartbeat!”  If anyone knows of upcoming events where we can pitch our tent and talk to more people, please reach out and let us know.  Let’s keep this grassroots momentum going!

(Picture below is of BERT volunteers Joe and Cyndi. One nice BERT member had a tattoo on her leg to honor her friend, Debra Purcaro, who was killed riding her bike right in our backyard. We need this multiuse trail more than ever!

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