A Brief History of Snake Island Part One

What is now Snake Island was in 1900 the southern tip of a peninsula called Turner Key. Most likely because it was owned by a family named Turner. Maps dated around 1910 show a channel cut that created an island that was referred to still as “Turner Key” but sometimes called “RattleSnake Island” on maps or just “Snake” by the locals. In the 1960’s the Federal Government came through, took the right of way & created the ICW making is...lands of both the city of Venice & the newly created “Snake Island”. The new oasis at the Venice inlet remained fairly stable until 1983/4. That was when an attempt to “relocate” Midnight Pass failed & that historic inlet was allowed to close. The increased tidal flows that resulted & storms over the years have eroded Snake Island to a fraction of its original size. In 1999 the Army Corps of Engineers along with Sarasota County & the West Coast Inland Navigation District proposed environmental restoration projects for the spoil islands created when the ICW was dredged. Due to the fact that the proposed plan for Snake Island would have all but eliminated the publics access this plan was adamantly opposed by the local boaters, who, needing a flag to fight under created the organization now known as The Snake Island Republic. The “Republic” adopted RattleSnake Island through the Keep Sarasota County Beautiful Adopt-a-Park program and conducts regular cleanups there. Most any Sunday our “Mayor” and his loyal subjects will be found enjoying Snake Island with friends and family. Contrary to reports recently in a local newspaper, Snake Island IS NOT the site of an Indian burial ground. The area is however of archeological and historical significance and needs to be preserved.