Members of the Sanibel Bicycle Club rode to the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Wednesday morning to stage a belated grand opening celebration for Wildlife Drive.
The paving and improvement project had concluded on Oct. 1 of last year, but officials were forced to cancel the scheduled grand opening because of the federal government shutdown.
Cyclists and bike club members gathered at the refuge to pose for a picture, take a free ride down Wildlife Drive, and have lunch at Doc Ford's Sanibel Rum Bar & Grill.
Paul Tritaik, wildlife refuge manager, standing next to the Blue Goose. MCKENZIE CASSIDY.
Paul Tritaik, wildlife refuge manager, said he was glad the club was able to celebrate their 20th anniversary at the refuge.
"On behalf of the refuge staff and volunteers, I wanted to welcome you to the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and congratulate you on your 20th anniversary," said Tritaik. "I hope you will take advantage of this beautiful day."
Birgit Miller, the executive director of the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society said that Sanibel Island was designated as a bike friendly community thanks to the efforts of the club.
"We appreciate all you do to promote the refuge. You are all amazing people who help make this island what it is," said Miller.
For more information about the refuge or upcoming events, visit dingdarlingsociety.org.