Vol II – April 2023


Hello Friends of Bonita Estero Rail Trail and welcome to our April 2023 Newsletter!    This month’s articles are all about the potential that the Bonita Estero Rail Trail will bring to Lee County.   In particular, our focus is on the potential economic benefits of BERT and how that potential can have such a positive impact on the local economy as the Pinellas Trail did for the town of Dunedin Florida.  Read about Dunedin’s transformation from sleepy mill town to Florida’s first thriving Trail Town. 

In addition, you will learn about how BERT will ultimately become a vital part of the Florida Gulf Coast Trail spanning the entire length of Lee County, a strategy for filling the trail gaps we refer to as ‘ConnectLee Ron Gogoi of the Lee MPO details plans to ConnectLee with a network of multi-use trails from BERT to John Yarbrough and farther north to the Charlotte County border.  ConnectLee is an exciting approach to Greenways and Trails in Lee County and you will see a detailed map of how the current and future trails will be connected in that article.   I am certain you’ll get as excited as I am about the transformational potential of trails in Lee County. 

And finally, we are sending out a Call for Volunteers! Take a look at the committees your Friends of BERT Board is forming. So many of you have offered to get more involved, and now is your chance! Don’t worry if you have left for the Summer.  Our plan is to meet virtually during the summer months, setting forth plans that we can execute in the Fall. 

The BERT Gear store is open for business! Get your shirts and hats for the next couple of weeks before it closes once again. 

Last month we set out a challenge to donate to Friends of BERT, as we had an anonymous matching donor. You rose to the occasion and surpassed the $1500 total. We haven’t yet met our $10,000 goal, so let’s do this! 

Our membership is now above 2600 and 20 HOA’s have endorsed the Rail Trail project. It’s exciting to see new businesses and elected officials join our ranks. Thanks to all who share our vision for a linear park and trail, away from traffic. A trail that will keep us safe, and will build back our business community…much like Dunedin. 

I’m proud of the work we are doing with our elected officials, businesses and with all of you! 


Imagine a linear park and greenway that extends from the Lee/Collier County border, all the way north to the Lee/Charlotte County border. We at Friends of Bonita Estero Rail Trail call that effort…ConnectLee! While we advocate for BERT, we know our 14.9-mile linear park and trail is part of a larger trail network that will span Lee County.   READ MORE>>


The Pinellas Loop Trail is a 75-mile-long bicycle and pedestrian trail that traverses all of Pinellas County and bisects downtown Dunedin.  Dunedin’s strategic location along the trail has turned this once depressed community into a destination spot for outdoor enthusiasts.  READ MORE>>


It’s time to get excited about the economic benefits that the Bonita Estero Rail Trail will bring to Lee County!   Upon completion the trail is expected to draw thousands of tourists annually contributing heavily to the growth and diversification of the tourism economy for Lee County.   Trail user expenditures for hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, rental shops, hard good sales, etc., are estimated to be between $3.9M to $8.5M annually.  READ MORE>>


Want to get more involved in your community?  Want to accelerate the pace of the Bonita Estero Rail Trail project?  This is your chance!  Friends of BERT is organizing volunteer committees, and we need you!   READ MORE>>

         How You Can Help Support Our Cause!

  JOIN – Stay informed by clicking JOIN to become a Friend of BERT (Please forward to others that may be interested in becoming a Friend of BERT)   DONATE – Help us spread the word about BERT by donating   VOLUNTEER – Get involved by signing up to volunteer   SUPPORT – Support our cause by purchasing gear at the SweatVac store   VISIT – Visit our website at:    

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: