Restoring Our Iconic Boardwalk

The Dodson Spur has been closed since 2017.

Our world-famous, 2.25-mile boardwalk was originally constructed in 1956. It was largely rebuilt in 2000 with Ipe lumber, chosen for its supreme resistance to weather and fire. At the time, our leadership worked to sustainably source this product from the Amazon rainforest.  

Since then, the boardwalk has withstood damage from falling trees associated with dozens of storms, including Hurricane Irma in 2017. Our supply of replacement boards has run out.  

The Dodson Spur has been closed since 2017. Because new sources of Ipe cannot prove the trees are cut without causing unnecessary destruction of Amazon rainforest, we have chosen Black Locust, a common hardwood tree that grows in the United States and is known for having strength and durability similar to Ipe. 

A generous donation from Art Mollenhauer, a Chicago native and longtime visitor, provided the funding for the materials to repair this spur, and all labor is being provided by volunteers and staff. Volunteers are needed! 

Falling trees, dropping leaves, and constant exposure to moisture are a few of the threats to our boardwalk, which must be maintained regularly to keep it safe for visitors. Funding for boardwalk maintenance is an ongoing need and a priority for the Sanctuary.  It costs approximately $5,000 for materials and labor to repair about ten feet of boardwalk. Funding for boardwalk maintenance is an ongoing need and a priority for the Sanctuary.

To support the longevity of our iconic boardwalk, contact development manager Sarah.Lathrop@audubon.org.

Join our volunteer boardwalk repair team! Contact Kristina.Ohern@audubon.org or call 239-348-9151 ext. 105.

How you can help, right now