Kayaking across Boca Ciega bay on a calm balmy morning stirred images of what the pioneers saw when they discovered Treasure Island Florida. Back then schools of mullet filled the bays, manatees floated and frolicked along side dancing dolphins. Sunsets that shimmered like gold medallions on the gulf and flocks birds donning their finest plumage lining the shorelines, and the endless tropical beaches loaded with a variety of shells...the "Real" treasures of the island!
It is apparent to me, based on what I witnessed Saturday morning clean up on Elnor Island, that the mayor and councilmember's of Treasure Island are firmly grounded in where the real treasures of Treasure Island are! One by one they emerged from the thick island carrying armfuls of lumber and debris. Mayor Maloof mostly covered in mud casually poked here head out momentarily for a water break. She didn't even mind the mangrove crab perched on her knee. Other locals like Bob Dowling from Treasure Island's Beach Steward Society handily loaded countless bags and boards onto a boat and recounted childhood stories of shenanigans and sightings of nesting birds on the island. Greg McIntosh from Nature Matters conducted a clinic on how to remove big items from the mangroves. If ever in need of manpower for protecting nature...call in a McIntosh!
Nearly 30 people stood side by side for 3 hours picking and passing debris to waiting barges and boats for proper disposal. With the passing of every load the smiles & laughter grew and the island regained its glory. One of the "real" treasures nearly restored.
Citizens of Treasure Island be proud of your leaders, they not only talk-the-talk, but they walk-the- walk even in the harshest places in an effort to protect and preserve your natural treasures!
Kurt Zuelsdorf. Writer, Urban Tracker, Outdoor Enthusiast at Kayak Nature Adventures kayak and sup rentals