Once proposed for luxury properties, Fullerton Island was 12 acres of prime Jupiter real estate ready to be sold to the highest bidder. Fullerton Island is a piece of land right off Jupiter’s Sawfish Bay Park that remained vacant for many years over legal disputes. Before 2013, the island was infested with invasive species and required a major make over to dispose of the non-native plants like Australian Pines and Brazilian Pepper Trees. Fullerton Islands history begins in the 1920’s when the School District of Palm Beach County gave a selection of unsurveyed land to local attorney, B.F Hampton. In that selection, 2 spoil islands would be available to him, one of them being Fullerton Island. In lieu of legal fees, Hampton would choose Fullerton as his compensation. In the 1950’s, Hampton gifted the island to his grandson, Richard Fullerton as inheritance. The Island was named after Hampton’s grandson and until the 1990’s, it would remain practically untouched. As Jupiter began inhabiting more and more people between the 80’s and 90’s, Fullerton Island was noticed by local real estate as being a prime location for luxury homes on the water. Michelle Alexander, a Jupiter developer, proposed to buy the property for 2.2 million dollars but was intercepted by the Town of Jupiter stating that the land was designated for conservation and not for residential development. Alexander then filed a suit with the Town of Jupiter for refusing the permit which would last over a decade until the court favored the town and her contract with the Fullerton family was voided. In 2003, the island was bought by engineer Herb Kahlert and Ed Oliver for 2.6 million dollars and once again proposed for luxury residential homes, going against the islands conservation zoning designation. After much backlash from residents and the town, the two withdrew the plan for development. In 2008, the island was finally purchased by the Town of Jupiter for 2.9 million dollars in an effort to turn the island into a conservation land and increase eco-tourism in the area. Clearing of land, dredging, removing exotic plants, building docks and planting mangroves and other native plants would begin in 2013 with a hefty price tag of 3 million dollars. Backhoes were used to dig 3 foot deep channels meandering through the island, only deep enough for kayaks, paddle boards, and maybe a small skiff. This would make the island fully accessible from both sides by small watercraft. The 55,000 cubic yards of sand collected from the island would be hauled down to Lake Worth near Bryant Park to be reused for the construction of the Snook Islands preserve project. Mangroves and other native species were added to the island to create a flourishing environment for local sea and land creatures. The added foliage would create a perfect habitat for many different species of native birds, making it the perfect place for any ornithologist. Fish and other species to see at Fullerton Island include Florida manatees, Rays, Porpoise, Snook, Snapper, Sheepshead, and Mullet as well as birds like Blue Heron and Spoonbills. The island is now a thriving estuary promoting conservation as well as eco-friendly tourism in the Jupiter and has influenced locals, visitors, and businesses to utilize the hidden jewel. Jupiter Outdoor Center is proud to be the committed adoptive parents of Fullerton Island through Palm Beach County’s Adopt a Park Program.
Jupiter, FL–The Jupiter Outdoor Center, 1116 Love Street, Jupiter, FL 33477, hosts guided tours of the Jupiter Inlet Aquatic Preserve, where visitors can explore the ecology of the mangrove lined waterways, and search for the magnificent manatees that abound in our waters during this time of year.
“Early sailors and explorers thought that these creatures were mermaids upon first encountering them, but giving our guests a chance to paddle with them up close can really give us all an idea how much rum those early sailors must have been drinking! Although they are majestic animals, they are a far cry from a beautiful swimming goddess of the sea. They are an important part of our local ecology, an endangered species, and a close encounter with a manatee is something not soon forgotten.” – Ryan Sullivan, Director of Operations for the Jupiter Outdoor Center
Did you know? The “sea cow” is a common term for manatees and other dugongs. This name likely comes from the fact that manatees are herbivores (plant-eaters), as are cows, and often graze on sea grasses and other plants found in the shallow warm waters, usually 3 to 7 feet deep. Manatees are found in both salt and fresh water. Along the coast, manatees tend to travel in water that is 10-16 feet deep, and they are rarely seen in areas over 20 feet deep.
Much like their beloved snowbird human counterparts, November through March, manatees are concentrated primarily in Florida. Manatees don’t thrive in very cold water, and being warm blooded mammals, gather near warm water sources such as natural springs and shallow mangrove estuaries. Individual manatees often return to the same wintering areas year after year. In the summer months when warmer waters extend further north, manatees are much more widely distributed and can be found as far west as Alabama and Louisiana and as far north as Virginia and the Carolinas.
You can be an eye witness to this migration by registering for one of the Jupiter Outdoor Center’s daily Mangroves and Manatees Eco Tours that depart right from their private launch beach at 1116 Love Street directly across the inlet from the Jupiter Lighthouse. Upon entering the crystal blue waterways, the only thing separating you from the manatees is your kayak or paddleboard. The Jupiter Outdoor Center guides will take you throughout the mangrove-laden estuaries and aquatic preserves in search of these gentle giants, giving tips and pointers on good paddling technique along the way. The tours are good for all ages, and kids truly light up when they catch a glimpse of a manatee in the wild, so get the whole family involved and go explore! You can contact the Jupiter Outdoor Center at 561-747-0063 or visit www.jupiteroutdoorcenter.com to book your reservation.
About the Jupiter Outdoor Center:
Founded in 1997, the Jupiter Outdoor Center provides quality outdoor adventures and a place to rent kayaks, paddleboards, and embark on guided eco-tours. Located at 1116 Love Street, Jupiter FL 33477, with its beach located directly across the waterway from the Jupiter Lighthouse, the Jupiter Outdoor Center is the perfect spot to launch a kayak, take a Stand Up Paddleboarding Lesson, enjoy a guided tour and even send your kids to adventure camp.
At Jupiter Outdoor Center we don’t just rent kayaks and paddleboards. We provide a natural outdoor adventure that is guranteed to blow your mind and create memories that last a life time. It all starts with our one-of-a-kind world class location on The Jupiter Inlet across from The historic Jupiter inlet lighthouse, museum and Indian River, the most bio diverse estuary in North America.
Call us for more information on each unique tour experience and please browse our website to view photos and information.
$60 includes kayak or SUP.
The Manatee Tour Departs twice a day, two times a week. Call for times as they change each day.
Call to reserve your spot today. Remember to bring your waterproof camera !
Who are these adorable little guys ? ” The Florida Manatee “
|The West Indian manatee was once abundant throughout the tropic and subtropical western North and South Atlantic and Caribbean waters. However, the manatee’s numbers have been greatly reduced. Today, the West Indian manatee is listed as an endangered species throughout its range.|
Call us to reserve your spot on the Manatee Tour Jupiter !