Key West National Wildlife Refuge At 100

November 8, 2008 By: Marshall Cutchin

Like anyone who knows a place that is still wild and mostly unchanged, I hesitate to recommend that anyone go spend time there. But I also recognized long ago that many mostly-wild places stay that way only because of public awareness. This has never been truer than in the U.S. wildlife refuges that surround Florida’s Lower Keys, where only a continuous, determined effort has prevented economic exploitation from turning them into on-the-water theme parks. In this morning’s Miami Herald, Cammy Clark notes the centennial of the Key West National Wildlife Refuge, which stretches north and west from Key West and provides some of the best permit, bonefish and tarpon fishing in the world to those who learn its secrets. “The refuge, located off the coast of Key West, is full of life — and surprises. Green sea turtles nest on its sandy beaches. Rare Miami blue butterflies flutter along its dunes. Hawks use the mangroves for resting areas to and from the Caribbean.”