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.
World Oceans Day began in 2002 with the idea that recognizing one global ocean could connect us all. This global event has brought awareness to the many problems that are faced with ocean conservation today. Pollution and over fishing are some of the reasons why marine ecosystems are deteriorating and that is why World Oceans Day is a way that people can come together to understand the importance of these issues. With advisers and volunteers around the world, The Ocean Project has used its World Oceans Day, to promote events all over the world.
That is why Jupiter Outdoor Center and many other local businesses will be taking part in celebrating unity through the common goal of conserving our natural oceans. On June 11th, JOC will be participating in day long event honoring World Oceans Day. The center will begin the event with a paddle out to the turtle viewing area and a Dolphin Tour sponsored by TARA’s Foundation from 10-12 pm. Jupiter Water Taxi will be operating tours around Jupiter’s waterways beginning at 11 am and free kids Kayaking and Paddle-boarding lessons will be offered on our Love St. beach from 1-4 pm. Also, our amazing friends over at the Loxahatchee River Center will be offering a live touch tank for the kids from 2-3 pm. Music and food will be sponsored by the I Love Lucy Foundation and raffles will be presented by TARA’s Foundation where memberships, retail items, and snorkeling gear will be awarded to the lucky winners. Activities will be abundant at the JOC World Oceans Day event for your education and pleasure!
In honor of Jupiter Outdoor Center’s 20th anniversary, the center will be celebrating this milestone by offering a free 3 month individual membership to the person that submits a story and picture that best illustrates the many reasons why JOC is the ultimate choice for outdoor adventure and fun! Here is our story about why friends and customers call JOC “ the real JUPITER experience”. From the day back in 97 when JOC opened at what is now known as Guanabanas it has been the place to go for all things “ OUTDOORS”. In fact ,if you like Guanabanas you might be interested to know that it started out in 1999 as The Kayak Cafe inside the JOC outfitters store where the bar is now located. In Other Words, if there was no JOC, there would be no Guanabanas! Since moving to the Inlet on Love St in 2014 paddlers and campers have raved about the crystal clear blue water , Its serenity and abundance of amenities. We are the perfect place to experience a 360 degree view of all the beauty Jupiter has to offer. And we have a Hammock!!
1) Location: We are the only paddle center on Blue Water in Jupiter!
2) The views: Who doesn’t love The Jupiter Inlet lighthouse and Museum? Our beach has a 360 degree view of all things Jupiter.
3) Famous Hammock: Our beach is home to the iconic JOC hammock where you can relax and snap a picture perfect memory.
3) JOC has many ways to explore the beautiful Indian and Loxahatchee Rivers and the Jupiter Inlet Aquatic Preserve: Kayaks/sups/water taxi are just some of the ways you can explore these waters.
4) Love St. Beach: Our beach is the perfect spot to take a seat, relax and enjoy one of our many adirondack chairs.
5) Our staff: JOC’s staff is an eclectic blend of water loving, paddle loving people ready and willing to share their passion with everyone.
6) JOC shares the love: We are paddle and pet friendly even if you don’t rent from us you can launch here and we will create a free trip plan that factors in your experience, interests, tides and weather.
7) JOC is surrounded by local bars and eateries to satisfy any taste after your paddle adventure
8) JOC has the KNOWLEDGE of this area. We have been in business for 20 years and we know our stuff.
9) Passion: JOC is passionate about everything around us and we want to share that with you
10) Diversity: We have many ways for you to enjoy the waterways here. Rentals/tours/camps/parties/water taxi/beach/bikes.
11) Community: JOC has always been a leader in the community and has given back in many ways such as beach cleanups, youth education , supporting the sprint flatwater Olympic Teams and events with local charities and more.
12) ECO FRIENDLY: No motors here!
13) JOC is the clear choice: With our crystal blue water as the backdrop to your adventure you just can’t go wrong.
14) SEA LIFE: so many to list but just a few ranging from tiny crabs to manatees and turtles. You may even see a leatherback turtle one day
15) Fitness: Paddling is a LIFE SPORT! All ages can benefit from paddling on a regular basis.
16) We are OUTSIDE! Nature is the best way to de stress and get away from the over technological world we live in today.
17) 363 days a year we are open! Spend your holidays with us or book a party!
19) Lifestyle: JOC helps you keep your Florida lifestyle in check. We make it easy for you with memberships and guided tours and you can even bring your furry friends, as we are pet friendly.
20) Last but not least LOVE. We are on LOVE Street. We LOVE what we do. We LOVE being there for you. We LOVE Jupiter.
“As a tour guide here I am asked if my job ever gets boring. Doing the same thing in the same spot every day. I DO NOT! The water changes every minute, of every day, of every season. I relish the subtle and abrupt fluctuations… the ebb and flow of my daily tour route. The manatees I’ve encountered (and named) are in constant flux. It is a virtual who’s who of Mother Nature’s aquatic best. The flora and fauna of the area are limitless. Sometimes you just have to stop, look and listen and things you never knew, were there all around you. I personally enjoy the billions of tiny fish schools you may find yourself surrounded by. The amazing array of birds is sure to please any ornithologist. JOC’s waterways can offer any kind of day you might be looking for, from a serene early Monday morning to a chaotic party on the sandbar with the boater’s kind of day. Zen to Zestful adventure awaits at JOC.”
-Max Park, JOC Tour Guide/Camp Director
While our views and activities are the best part of our immersive experience, Jupiter’s marine life is an extraordinary sight for everyone. A paddle adventure is the perfect place to see the amazing marine life our waterways have to offer. Here are some of the animals you may come across on your next visit:
1) First and foremost MANATEES
2) Turtles running a close second
3) Hermit crabs: every camper’s favorite
4) Stingrays: From stingrays to spotted eagle rays big and small
5) Needlefish: One of my personal favorites
5) Puffer fish
6) Sea urchins
7) Star fish
9) Sea Cucumbers
10) Seahorses: you have to look hard but they are there
12) Really big Turtles. On a rare occasion you can see leatherback and loggerheads
13) Sharks: Yes, sharks big and small
14) Mullet Fish…tons of them
15) Jellyfish: A turtle’s favorite lunch
16) Clams o plenty
17) Parrot fish…the color of the ocean
18) Blue Crabs
20) The locals on the sandbars and beaches enjoying the water and some tunes from their boats. Wink…wink.
Jupiter Outdoor Center has had a few School’s Out Day Camps since my last blog from Camp #2. Most of those camps were a combination of wind and more wind plus the added bonus of one camp on a full moon. Never the less, fun and adventure were had by the kids.
Speaking of the kids…I just adore my job as counselor. Each child is treasure in their own way. They never cease to amaze me. So, I thought I would just blog about a few things that I have learned from hanging out with the campers.
I sometimes just sit back a bit and watch. Kids from every walk of life have joined us here at Jupiter Outdoor Center and there is no prejudice, no questions..just pure innocence with the expectation of fun ahead. As adults I feel we become jaded by society …thus…watching these kids, who are total strangers for the most part, just instantly bond the way they do is a fantastic thing to see? The joyous innocence of youth. I’ve seen the connection of siblings in a way that warms my heart. Fears have been overcome and memories of a lifetime have been made.Spending the day with these kids makes me happy. One day in particular after a great afternoon with the campers…I went home and turned on the news. What a buzz kill!!! After such a day of wonderment and fun with the children… I was disturbed and saddened by the real world. I turned off the television. All in all, I think there is a point when all of us as adults and /or parents would like to be a kid at Jupiter Outdoor Center’s School’s Out Day Camp. Young is a state of mind. Come visit us at JOC and let your kids show you.