Hurricane Ian Update

Dear friends,

The staff and volunteers at the Randell Research Center send healing thoughts to our local and regional neighbors and entire community of support following the devastating toll of Hurricane Ian.

We will post the latest news and updates on our Hurricane Ian recovery page.

As of December 1, 2023 a larger portion of the Calusa Heritage Trail is once again open to visitors! In addition to the first 1000′ of the trail we opened on January 11, 2023, we also have the north-facing platform on Brown’s Mound, the Randell Mound stairway, and the walkway to Smith Mound open! While the footbridge is still in disrepair, we have opened our interior service road to allow the public to access the site on foot. The trail is open daily for self-guided visits from sunrise to sunset.

We look forward to seeing you all again soon and serving the greater southwest Florida community.

The Randell Research Center Team

The Randell Research Center (RRC) is a program of the Florida Museum of Natural History.  We are dedicated to teaching the archaeology, history, and ecology of southwest Florida.  Our motto is, “As we learn, we teach.”

Situated on the scenic western shore of historic Pine Island, the RRC encompasses 67 acres at the heart of the Pineland archaeological site, a massive shell mound site extending across more than 100 acres from the mangrove coastline.

The Calusa were once the most powerful people in all of south Florida. For many centuries, they accumulated huge shell mounds, engineered canals, and sustained tens of thousands of people from the fish and shellfish found in the rich estuaries west and south of Fort Myers. All that is left of their culture today is a dwindling number of shell mound sites dotting the estuarine landscape between Charlotte Harbor and the Ten Thousand Islands region of the Everglades.

Visitors can tour this internationally significant site and learn about Calusa culture and their environment on the Calusa Heritage Trail.

Video by: Into Nature Films / Videographer: Jennifer Brown

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