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Nature Pockets in Key West

September 29, 2010

The salt ponds at Riggs Wildlife Refuge

Key West is and two mile-by-four mile subtropical island, most of which is covered by tourist traps and tacky condos.  Though our city may be better known for our bars than our birds, the island does have ecological importance. Key West is crucial to many species of birds who pass though while migrating South. The island serves as a last chance for fresh water, rest and food before vast expanses of ocean. Also, Key West’s mangrove patches and salt ponds serve as nurseries to various fish, crustaceans and other marine life.

Among the hustle and bustle of this little city exists several “nature pockets” where a girl like me can get her wildlife on.  Our nature preserves, small as they are, rarely attract attention from tourists, but that doesn’t make them any less important to the well-being of our island.

With the exception of Fort Zachary Taylor State Park in historic “Old Town”, Key West’s “nature pockets” are tucked away with little fanfare in residential “New Town,” near the airport, between condos, and in the corners of parking lots and paintball fields. Unlike Fort Zach, all the new town sites are accessible for free.

I love taking little breaks from writing during the day to jump on my bike or scooter and go check out what’s happening at the 11-acre Sonny McCoy Indigenous Park,  peek into the edges of the Riggs Wildlife Refuge, walk the trail at Little Hamaca Park or the shorter one at the Key West Nature Preserve, peruse the pond designated as the Monroe County Bird Sanctuary or watch wading birds on the usually-abandoned end of Smather’s Beach (away from the bathrooms, rental chairs and food trucks.)

A mangrove buckeye in Riggs Wildlife Refuge

An ibis foraging in Little Hamaca Park

My trusty steed resting on the kiteboarding beach at Smather’s.

So there’s my shout-out to the tiny places still left for nature within the city of Key West!

To learn more about Key West, purchase the 3rd edition of my guide:  Key West: A Comprehensive Guide to Florida’s Southernmost City.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 2, 2010 4:22 pm

    Good day!This was a really quality blog!
    I come from endland, I was fortunate to discover your subject in bing
    Also I get much in your blog really thank your very much i will come daily

  2. October 24, 2010 9:04 pm

    So beautiful!!! =)


  1. Saving the Sonny McCoy Indigenous Park | Wild Earthling

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