Great White Heron
Information Tearsheet of National Key Deer Refuge, Key West, Great White Heron and Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) in Florida. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Nature Center UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY PROHIBITED U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE Walking Trails Watson Trail 2/3 mile (1 km) Mannillo Trail 800 feet (200m) U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE Hiking Trails IO M EN T OF THE I NT E All public entry prohibited Refuge Lands. Look for Refuge Boundary Signs. Private Property. Respect Private Property Rights. R R T Watson and Mannillo Trails Blue Hole This sign indicates the boundary of the refuge. The Refuge Manager has authorized this area open during daylight hours to public access for wildlife-dependent activities. This sign means that there is NO public access permitted in the area beyond this sign. Access is prohibited to protect wildlife and habitat and/or to protect visitors. Hiking on designated trails Pets on leashes (only on National Key Deer Refuge) Big Pine St. Bicycles permitted except the Watson and Mannillo Trails No Name Key Watson Horses are permitted on refuge lands, access limited, consult refuge manager Blvd. Key Deer Blvd. This blue goose, created by J.N. "Ding" Darling, is the symbol for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Big Pine Key To protect you, other visitors and the environment, the following activities are prohibited on National Key Deer Refuge Hunting or discharging firearms Wilder Road 1 0 National Key Deer, Key West and Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuges Miles 0 1 Camping on refuge lands Km 1.0 Fires Nature Center 30587 Overseas Highway Big Pine Key, FL 33043 Nature Center phone - 305/872 0774 Administrative office phone - 305/872 2239 Key Deer Hotline - 888/404 3922 Ext. 7 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.fws.gov/refuge/National_Key_Deer_Refuge Facebook: Florida Keys Refuges The use of metal detectors to search for antiquities or treasure. N To Key West July 2020 Personal photography Koehn Avenue Watson Blvd. Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge 10750 County Road 905 Key Largo, FL 33037 Email: email@example.com To enhance your visit, the following wildlife-dependent activities are permitted on National Key Deer Refuge Fishing on Ohio Key Wildlife and wildlands observation AREA BEYOND THIS SIGN CLOSED PA The four refuges include more than 416,000 acres of land and open water. Most keys are fringed along the shoreline by red and black mangroves. On larger keys, this gives way to a wide variety of tropical and subtropical trees and shrubs on slightly higher ground. These lands maintain a unique biodiversity by protecting and preserving important marine water, freshwater wetlands, mangroves, tropical hardwood forests (hammocks), and pine rockland forests. Together, these habitats provide the four basic components of a habitat- food water, shelter, and open space, necessary for the survival of 24 federally listed threatened or endangered species and other native wildlife. As commercial and residential development in the Keys increases, pressure on limited land and water resources become more crucial to the survival of this fragile ecosystem. Legend DE Welcome to the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges - National Key Deer Refuge, Great White Heron, Key West and Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuges. These four refuges are located in an extraordinary and seemingly endless expanse of sea, islands and sky. These refuges are part of a vast subtropical ecosystem. This distinct chain of islands stretches almost 150 miles from the Key deer southeastern tip of Florida, curving gently westward dividing the aqua-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico from the distant deep blue Atlantic. NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE R National Key Deer Refuge, Key West, Great White Heron and Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuges U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Poles or pipes such as beach umbrellas Long Beach Road 1 To Marathon Feeding, injuring, harassing, or removing wildlife, plants, or natural items No fishing or swimming at Blue Hole Introducing exotic plants or wildlife Storing equipment or property on refuge lands Commercial activity without a permit No drones U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Key Deer Refuge The 84,351 acre National Key Deer Refuge is located in the Lower Keys on 25 islands and consists of a patchwork of small and large tracts of pine forest, mangrove forest, hardwood hammocks, freshwater wetlands and marine waters. Key deer are found on these 25 islands. The Key deer is the smallest sub-species of the Virginia white-tailed deer found throughout most of North America. Because the Key deer population is low and remains under threat of extinction from human interaction, the subspecies is federally listed as endangered. The current population is estimated at over 800. Key deer can best be seen at dawn or dusk throughout Big Pine and sometimes on other islands between Big Pine and Cudjoe/Sugarloaf Keys. Please help keep the Key deer wild by not feeding them. Not only is it illegal, it’s bad for their health. The refuge has a visitor center on Big Pine Key and offers the Blue Hole site, the Jack Watson Wildlife Trail and the Fred Mannillo Wildlife Trail. Refer to the map for their location. Also, visitors are welcome to hike refuge fire roads that are open for access. There are additional hiking trails on Cudjoe Key, Upper Sugarloaf Key, and Lower Sugarloaf Key.Big Pine Key has extensive growths of Florida slash pine, silver palms, thatch palm, and poisonwood. Poisonwood produces an oil which can cause a rash to humans similar to poison ivy. To identify it, look for telltale “burn” marks on the leaves. Pinelands and prescribed burn the Florida Keys. Nearly 100 species of native trees and shrubs can be found in these hammocks, more than found in some entire states! These forests are home to several endangered and threatened species including the Key Largo woodrat, Key Largo cotton mouse, Schaus swallowtail butterfly, Key Largo woodrat/Clay Eastern indigo snake DeGayner and Stock Island tree snail. Hardwood hammocks also provide important seasonal habitat for migratory neotropical songbirds and permanent homes to colorful tree snails and butterflies. Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge Crocodile Lake NWR was established in North Key Largo in 1980 to protect and preserve critical habitat for the endangered American crocodile. The mangrove wetlands of the refuge provide habitat, solitude, and the only known nesting area on Key Largo for this shy reptile. Mangrove forests fringing the shoreline also support a wide variety of wildlife including wading birds and songbirds, as well as serving as important nursery habitats for many fish species. The refuge also protects a unique tropical hardwood hammock, which supports a high diversity of plant species, 80% of which are of West Indian origin. The refuge and the adjacent Key Largo Hammock State Botanical Site contain the largest continuous tract of hardwood forest remaining in Both refuges are of great interest scenically and scientifically, exemplifying a subtropical region unlike any other part of the United States. Great white heron chick/USFWS Due to the small size of the refuge and sensitivity of the habitat and wildlife to human disturbance, the refuge is closed to general public use. A single disturbance to a female crocodile could cause it to abandon its nest leaving the nest unguarded against predators. Poisonwood/USFWS The Blue Hole is an abandoned limestone quarry. The rock material removed was used to build many of the original roads on Big Pine Key. The water level is dependent on rainfall and from salt water which flows through the surrounding limestone. Wildlife here includes fish, turtles, birds and alligators. Do not feed or harass the alligators— it is dangerous and illegal! No swimming or fishing. An interpreted butterfly garden is open to public access next to the refuge headquarters. The garden and office is located on State Road 905, approximately two miles north of US 1 in Key Largo. The public can visit the self-guided nature trail located at the Key Largo Hammocks State Botanical Park adjacent to the refuge to see similar habitat and wildlife species. Crocodile/USFWS Key West and Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuges Encompassing numerous islands known locally as the Backcountry, these two refuges are among the oldest refuges in the nation. These areas were set aside for the primary purpose of maintaining a preserve and breeding ground for native birds. In contrast to the “main” Keys (linked by the Overseas Highway/US 1), the Pelican/USFWS Backcountry, with a few exceptions, is a pristine, uninhabited area of islands scattered amidst the biologically rich waters of the Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. In 1975, Congress recognized the special qualities of these refuges by designating many of the islands as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, providing them with additional protection. Key West National Wildlife Refuge was established by Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 to curtail the slaughter of birds whose feathers were highly valued in the hat industry. Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1938 to protect habitat for the great white heron and other migratory birds. Wading birds were threatened with extinction before this refuge began providing a safe haven for them and other threatened plant and animal species. These two refuges encompass more than 200,000 acres of open water and over 8,000 acres of land on 49 islands, protecting habitat for a wide variety of birds, the endangered Atlantic green and loggerhead turtles and is one of the only breeding sites in the U.S. for the endangered hawksbill turtle. The Marquesas represents a truly unique area within this refuge and needs added protection. Camping is not allowed in these refuges and access is restricted so as not to disturb birds and other wildlife.