In the 1960’s, with farms, buildings, roads and canals springing up across coastal Collier County, residents started to take notice that the once pristine bays and estuaries were showing the effects of development upstream. A 10-mile loop road through Rookery Bay proposed in 1963 would have opened up unbounded opportunities for coastal development, but a new perspective emerged in the community.
The Collier County Conservancy, the National Audubon Society, and the Nature Conservancy galvanized community support that resulted in more than $600,000 being raised to buy 3,362 acres of land that would have been otherwise destroyed. This land ultimately became the Rookery Bay Sanctuary, prompting the birth of a legacy.
In 1971, four thousand Greater Naples School children ran a penny-drive in a communal effort to stop a road-construction plan. Monument Trail gets its name from The Children’s Column, and a time capsule rests inside it with the names of the children that helped protect this natural environment.