"Aerial view of Fort Jefferson, Florida in 1993" by U.S. National Park Service , public domain

Dry Tortugas

National Park - Florida

Dry Tortugas National Park is about 68 miles (109 km) west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. The park preserves Fort Jefferson and the seven Dry Tortugas islands, the westernmost and most isolated of the Florida Keys. The archipelago's coral reefs are the least disturbed of the Florida Keys reefs. The park is noted for abundant sea life, tropical bird breeding grounds, colorful coral reefs, and legends of shipwrecks and sunken treasures. The park's centerpiece is Fort Jefferson, a massive but unfinished coastal fortress. Fort Jefferson is the largest brick masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere, and is composed of more than 16 million bricks. Dry Tortugas is unique in its combination of a largely undisturbed tropical ecosystem with significant historic artifacts. The park is accessible only by seaplane or boat. Activities include snorkeling, picnicking, birdwatching, camping, scuba diving, saltwater fishing and kayaking.

maps

Official visitor map of Dry Tortugas National Park (NP) in Florida. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Dry Tortugas - Visitor Map

Official visitor map of Dry Tortugas National Park (NP) in Florida. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

https://www.nps.gov/drto/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_Tortugas_National_Park Dry Tortugas National Park is about 68 miles (109 km) west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. The park preserves Fort Jefferson and the seven Dry Tortugas islands, the westernmost and most isolated of the Florida Keys. The archipelago's coral reefs are the least disturbed of the Florida Keys reefs. The park is noted for abundant sea life, tropical bird breeding grounds, colorful coral reefs, and legends of shipwrecks and sunken treasures. The park's centerpiece is Fort Jefferson, a massive but unfinished coastal fortress. Fort Jefferson is the largest brick masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere, and is composed of more than 16 million bricks. Dry Tortugas is unique in its combination of a largely undisturbed tropical ecosystem with significant historic artifacts. The park is accessible only by seaplane or boat. Activities include snorkeling, picnicking, birdwatching, camping, scuba diving, saltwater fishing and kayaking. Almost 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West lies the remote Dry Tortugas National Park. This 100-square mile park is mostly open water with seven small islands. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the park is known the world over as the home of magnificent Fort Jefferson, picturesque blue waters, superlative coral reefs and marine life, and the vast assortment of bird life that frequents the area. Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the most remote parks in the National Park System. Located approximately 70 miles west of Key West it is accessible only by a daily concession ferry, private boats, charter boats, or seaplane. Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center Temporarily closed due to Covid-19. Enter Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center and take a journey into the world of the native plants and animals of the Keys, both on land and underwater. Leave with an increased awareness and appreciation of the need to protect and conserve ecosystems of South Florida. The Center features over 6,000 square feet of interactive and dynamic exhibits including a mock-up of Aquarius, the world's only underwater ocean laboratory. Arriving from the north: Take US 1 South Turn right on North Roosevelt Boulevard Continue on Roosevelt; it will turn into Truman Avenue Take a right on Whitehead Street Take a left on Southard Street Go straight until you see the Center on the right Garden Key Visitor Center Garden Key Visitor Center is located inside Fort Jefferson. At the visitor center you will find artifacts, an informational movie, the bookstore, and souvenirs. The visitor center is inside Fort Jefferson. Once you enter the fort, it will be to your right. Garden Key Campground Garden Key, home to Fort Jefferson, has a primitive campground only a short walk from public dock and piers. Individual sites can accommodate up to three 2-person tents (6 persons max per-site) on a first-come, first served basis. In the event a regular campsite is unavailable, an overflow area will be made available. Upon arrival all overnight visitors will be provided a place to camp. For parties of 10 or more, a group campsite is available through our website. Garden Key Campground Fee 15.00 The campground is a self-service fee area with a nightly fee of $15 per campsite. A 50% discount applies to holders of the Golden Age or Golden Access Pass. No other discounts apply. Fees paid for transportation (seaplane or ferry) do not include camping fees. Golden Age or Golden Access Pass 7.50 A 50% discount applies to holders of the Golden Age or Golden Access Pass. Tents at the Dry Tortugas Tents and supplies set up on the campground. Campsites have picnic tables and grills. Campers must bring all supplies, including a tent, fresh water, fuel, ice, and food. All trash and garbage must be carried out upon departure. Overflow Camp Area Tents are set up on the overflow area of Garden Key Should a regular campsite not be available, an overflow area is provided. All campers, once they arrive will be guaranteed a place to camp. Campers will not be turned away. Camping Fee The self-service fee area at Garden Key. The campground is a self-service fee area with a nightly fee of $15 per campsite. A 50% discount applies to holders of the Golden Age or Golden Access Pass. No other discounts apply. Fees paid for transportation (seaplane or ferry) do not include camping Milky Way over Garden Key Campground A clear view of the Milky Way as it stretches over a campground and fort. Camping is the best way to see unaltered views of the night sky and hear the symphony of sounds protected by the National Park Service. Night sky at the Dry Tortugas A few of the stars at night with a view of Fort Jefferson. The Dry Tortugas is so remote that night sky viewing is possible. Sunset at Fort Jefferson Park visitors enjoy a sunset on the moat wall. Sunsets at the Dry Tortugas are breathtaking. Visitors who choose to camp over night can view the sun set at Fort Jefferson. Inside Fort Jefferson A view inside Fort Jefferson. Garden Key is the second largest island in the Dry Tortugas, about 14 acres in size, and has had the most human impact. Located on Garden Key is historic Fort Jefferson, one of the nation’s largest 19th century forts and a central cultural feature of Dry Diving at the Dry Tortugas Two divers dive the Windjammer Wreck The Dry Tortugas has over 300 sunken ships. One of the most accessible is the Winjammer Wreck which can be dove or snorkeled. Loggerhead Key A boat passes in front of Loggerhead Key during sunset. The largest island in the Dry Tortugas, Loggerhead Key is a site of shipwrecks, a significant lighthouse installation, and where the historic Carnegie Laboratory for Marine Ecology once stood. Named for its abundance of loggerhead sea turtles, Loggerhead Fort Jefferson A view of Fort Jefferson from the moat all. ort Jefferson is a massive but unfinished coastal fortress. It is the largest masonry structure in the Americas, and is composed of over 16 million bricks. Aerial view of the Dry Tortugas An aerial view of the Dry Tortugas The Dry Tortugas is made up of seven islands. Reconstruction During Reconstruction, the Federal government pursued a program of political, social, and economic restructuring across the South-including an attempt to accord legal equality and political power to former slaves. Reconstruction became a struggle over the meaning of freedom, with former slaves, former slaveholders and Northerners adopting divergent definitions. Faced with increasing opposition by white Southerners and some Northerners, however, the government abandoned effor Picture depictsing former slaves and free blacks voting following the passage of the 15th amendment Sea-level rise and inundation scenarios for national parks in South Florida A review of the science leads researchers to project sea level rise and inundation, trends in the frequency of nuisance flooding, recurrence intervals of storm surge, and impacts on infrastructure intended to provide useful information for managers and planners. Median RCP8.5 mean sea-level elevation projections for Everglades and Biscayne; NPS/Everglades NP Sex on the reef: Observations of coral spawning in Dry Tortugas National Park A collaborative state and federal dive team observes the annual reproductive spawning event of protected corals in Florida’s most remote park. A colony of elkhorn coral releases thousands of egg-sperm bundles; NPS/Brett Seymour Spiny Lobster Reserves Spiny lobsters (Panulirus argus) are keystone predators that, by preying on other carnivorous invertebrates in the reef ecosystem, control populations and mediate competition among prey species. The removal of this species thus reduces the biodiversity and resilience of the entire system. Spiny lobster observed from above ocean floor. Science at Sea in the Gulf of Mexico Science at Sea - Follow along as a research cruise makes its way around the Gulf of Mexico and collects water samples from 4 national parks. ocean view of Florida Bay NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. Links to products from Baseline Geologic and Soil Resources Inventories provide access to maps and reports. masonry fort on island Preserving Places of Captivity: Civil War Military Prisons in the National Parks During the Civil War, over 400,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were held prisoner at more than 150 diff erent prison sites. Approximately 56,000 of these died in captivity. Although Andersonville is the most famous Civil War prison, it is only one of many Civil War military prisons that are preserved by the National Park Service. Shaping the System under President George H.W. Bush President George H.W. Bush was an ardent supporter of the national parks. Explore some the parks that are part of the legacy of the presidency of George H.W. Bush, who served as the 41st president of the United States from January 20, 1989 to January 20, 1993. President George H.W. Bush shaking hands with a park ranger at the World War II Memorial Third System of Coastal Forts How should a country protect its borders? The United States had to consider this question when the War of 1812 ended in 1815. One year later, the federal government believed it had an answer. The nation created a broad national defense strategy that included a new generation of waterfront defenses called the Third System of Coastal Fortifications. Veteran Story: Erin Rust "This place is indescribable. There is an immense contrast between the incredibly delicate coral ecosystem and the monumental Fort Jefferson." A park ranger describes her transition from active duty military to veteran national park ranger. Rows of arches of Fort Jefferson with it's black lighthouse in the foreground Seacoast Ordnance Cannon manufactured for use in Third System forts are called seacoast ordnance. These were some of the largest and heaviest cannon available at the time. Cannon at forts Pickens, McRee, Barrancas, Massachusetts, and Advanced Redoubt fell into three categories: guns, howitzers, and mortars. Each had a specific purpose. A cannon is mounted over a brick wall, an American flag is flying to the left. National Parks Defend America's Coast During World War II Many national park sites joined the war effort in World War II by erecting Aircraft Warning, radio and radar stations. Some historic forts came to life with coastal defenses ready to defend the nation. color photo of explosion atop a fort wall, ocean beyond Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available. park scene mountains Data Manager Profile: Judd Patterson Meet Judd Patterson, Data Manager for the South Florida Caribbean Network. As a data manager, helps wrangle all the information that we collect on the health of our park resources. Judd is excited about the stories data can tell through time, whether that's looking back at park records from over a hundred years ago, or making sure the science we do in our parks today become time capsules for future generations to learn about how things were back in 2021. Data manager Judd Patterson smiles at the camera while holding camera equiment. The Job is His, Not Yours In the early 1950s, park wives continued to function as they had from the 1920s to the 1940s. The NPS still got Two For the Price of One, relying on women to keep monuments in the Southwest running, to give freely of their time and talents, to build and maintain park communities, and to boost morale among park staffs. With the creation of the Mission 66 Program to improve park facilities, the NPS found new ways to put some park wives to (unpaid) work. Man and woman with telescope Connecting Fire, Connecting Conservation Fire burns across south Florida in a landscape level prescribed fire operation. Fire burns and smoke billows across south Florida landscape Top 10 Tips for Planning your Trip to Dry Tortugas National Park Plan like a Park Ranger with these top 10 tips for visiting Dry Tortugas National Park The clear turquoise water laps against the shore as a woman walks along the white sand.
National Parks of South Florida National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Biscayne, Dry Tortugas and Everglades National Parks Big Cypress National Preserve Trip Planner The official guide for planning your trip to National Park areas in South Florida. Photo Courtesy of Ralph Arwood Photo Courtesy of Don Richards Big Cypress Biscayne Dry Tortugas Planning a Trip? A visit to South Florida’s national parks and preserves can be an experience you won’t soon forget. Biscayne, Dry Tortugas, and Everglades National Parks, and Big Cypress National Preserve offer opportunities ranging from snorkeling to wildlife photography to camping on a backcountry chickee. Planning ahead is the best way to take advantage of these opportunities, and choosing what time of year to visit, based on your interests, can be the key to an enjoyable trip. Rainy Season Dry Season During the rainy season warmer, clear ocean waters make snorkeling in Biscayne and Dry Tortugas the perfect way to explore these parks. Boating and canoeing in open waters helps to avoid mosquitoes. Boat tours out of Biscayne National Park and the Gulf Coast and Flamingo areas of Everglades National Park are another way to stay cool. While some birds are drawn to the parks year round, the abundance of migrating and wintering birds makes South Florida’s National Parks a birder’s paradise during the dry season. Falling water levels within the Everglades and Big Cypress areas result in abundant wildlife concentrated in ponds and canals, providing excellent viewing opportunities. Seasonal rains bring higher water levels within Everglades and Big Cypress, causing wildlife such as alligators and wading birds to disperse and to be seen less frequently. Mosquito levels may become high, and exploring trails in some areas of the parks can become intolerable. While visiting during this season you may find daily afternoon thunderstorms, high humidity, temperatures in the mid- to hi-80s and a multitude of mosquitoes. During this time of year you will also find an array of blooming plants, views of towering storm clouds and opportunities to experience the parks with fewer visitors. Remember, during the rainy season mosquitoes may be unbearable in some areas. The dry season is the busy season in South Florida’s national parks. Most visitors to Big Cypress, Biscayne, and the Everglades come between December and March. March through May are busy months at Dry Tortugas National Park. During months of higher visitation lodging reservations are recommended and campgrounds may be busy. Larger crowds, fewer mosquitoes, greater wildlife viewing opportunities and more enjoyable hiking, camping and canoeing adventures in all the parks characterize this time of year. Finally, the parks offer a greater variety and number of ranger-led activities that provide an in-depth look into the special natural and cultural resources protected within them. Everglades Printed Winter 2007 – 08 Mont Avera Minim ge Avera Temp um ge M eratu re Te aximum mper ature h Nove m throu ber gh Ap ril May t h Octob rough er 66°F/1 9 °C 76°F/2 4°C Annu al 71°F/2 2°C Dry S Humid ity Avera Mont ge h Rainf ly all eason 76°F/2 4°C Rainy 85°F/2 9°C 81°F/2 7°C 57% Seaso 2.17” /5.5cm n 64% 5.39” /13.3c m 45.44 ”/115 .4 cm What’s Inside? Planning Your Trip . . . 2 Everglades National Park . . . 6 Park Activities . . . 2 Dry Tortugas National Park . . . 7 Safety in the Parks . . . 3 Mail Order Publications . . . 7 Big Cypress National Preserve . . . 4 Parks Map . . . Back Cover Biscayne National Park . . . 5 National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Everglades National Park 40001 State Road 9336 Homestead, Florida 33034 National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Planning your trip Frequently Asked Questions The National Park Service, an agency of the Department of the Interior, was established in 1916 to manage a growing system of national parks. Today, the National Park System consists of over 390 units. National Parks, National Preserves, Seashores, Monuments, Historic Sites, Lakeshores, Battlefields, and others make up a great repository of national treasures entrusted to the National Park Service. In South Florida, nearly 2.5 million acres of pineland, prairie, tropical hardwoods, mangrove forests, estuaries and coral reefs are preserved for this and future generations. Their scientific, recreational, aesthetic and educational values are limitless. Experience Your America National Parks of South Florida Trip Planner is published as a service to park visitors through a generous donation by the Everglades Association. Are there entrance fees? No entrance fees are charged at Big Cypress National Preserve or Biscayne National Park. For cars, vans, and motorhomes, Everglades National Park charges a $10.00 fee at the Homestead and Shark Valley Entrances. Fees vary for buses (call 305-242-7700 for details). Bicyclists and people on foot pay $

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