When you cross over to the Causeway to reach Sanibel Island, you see a sign that welcomes you to a sanctuary island.

What is a sanctuary island, anyway?

In the case of Sanibel, it is a place where its city fathers and its current custodians  have put in place protections for the nature they share the island with.

Perhaps the most singular example of that sensibility is J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. More than 5,000 acres of mangrove forest and salt water flats have been set aside to preserve wildlife that have been on this strand of barrier island since the time it was just shifting sand.

Of course, “Ding” Darling is a federal reserve that is managed and maintained by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. It has been, however, a stimulus for similar thinking and dedication by local taxpaying residents to convert more private land to nature preserves.

Much of this has been driven by the efforts of Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF). The organization has more than 1200 additional acres on Sanibel under permanent conservation, plus another 600+ acres on Captiva and other islands.

As visitors to Sanibel-Captiva, you constantly remind us that this environmentally responsible  attitude is one of the primary reasons you return each year. You see it reflected in a City administration that has resisted pressures to build high rise buildings, install traffic lights permit fast-food formula restaurants.

Some call it quaint and sleepy. But that ambiance encourages visitors to relax, take it easy, slow down and reconnect with nature and each other. We wouldn’t have it any other way. And we live here.

From beaching to boating, Sanibel Arms West is here to take you away from the stress and  pressure you strive to escape, if only for few weeks every year.