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Free guided tour showcases former air field site at Buckingham Trails Preserve

April 25, 2018
SPECIAL TO THE CITIZEN ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Celebrate the Memorial Day holiday early with a free guided history walk from 8 to 10 a.m. Friday, May 4, at Buckingham Trails Preserve, 8790 Buckingham Road, Fort Myers.

This Conservation 20/20 preserve includes remnant structures from the Buckingham Army Air Field Flexible Gunnery School, a training base operated by the U.S. military in Lee County during World War II. Remnant structures to tour onsite include skeet trap ranges and a berm that once served as part of the Seabord Air Line Railroad, which delivered military supplies and goods to the base.

Nearly 50,000 acres in Lee County were once used as part of the Buckingham Army Air Field training base. Beginning in 1942, military recruits from across the country were trained at the base as turret gunners assigned to bomber planes flying over the European and Pacific Theaters. The air field was deactivated in 1945 when the war ended.

The 2-mile roundtrip walk will be guided by historians Jim Zbick and Ted Mikita from the Southwest Florida Military Museum & Library. The tour will take visitors through predominantly pine flatwoods and open scrub habitat. The trail is not ADA accessible.

Participants should bring a water bottle, hat, sunscreen and camera and wear closed-toed shoes. The tour will begin at the preserve parking entrance. Parking is free. Reservations are required in advance by contacting Jason Boeckman, Conservation 20/20 coordinator, at 239-204-1125.

For more information about Conservation 20/20, visit For more information about the Southwest Florida Military Museum & Library, visit

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