Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
|Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge|
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
|Location||Baldwin County and Mobile County, Alabama, United States|
|Nearest city||Gulf Shores, Alabama|
|Area||6,816 acres (28 km2)|
|Visitors||50,000 (in 2005)|
|Governing body||U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service|
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is a 6,816-acre (28 km2) National Wildlife Refuge located in five separate units in Baldwin and Mobile Counties, United States, directly west of Gulf Shores, Alabama on the Fort Morgan Peninsula. The refuge serves as a resting and feeding area for migratory birds and as a sanctuary for native flora and fauna. The refuge is one of the largest undeveloped parcels of land on the Alabama coast.
Established in 1980, Bon Secour (the name, in French, means "safe harbor") is smaller than most other national wildlife refuges, and is divided into Sand Bayou, Perdue, Little Point Clear, Fort Morgan, and Little Dauphin Island.
The Perdue unit is the most developed. Most units are located on the Fort Morgan Peninsula in Baldwin County, except Little Dauphin Island, which is in Mobile County. More than 50,000 guests visit the refuge annually. The fiscal year 2005 budget was $404,000.
The refuge seeks to conserve an undisturbed beach and dune ecoystem which will serve as a refuge for endangered and threatened plant, fish, and wildlife speciess, as well as a habitat for migratory birds.
Approximately 400 species of birds have been identified on the refuge, usually during migratory seasons, ranging from ospreys and herons to seven species of hummingbirds. There have been sightings of deer, bobcat, alligators, red fox, wild pig, coyotes, and armadillos.
There are four trails in the Perdue unit of the refuge with a combined length of five miles.
- Pine Beach Trail
- Jeff Friend Trail
- Gator Lake Trail
- Centennial Trail
Bon Secour suffered extensive damage on September 16, 2004 due to a near direct hit from Hurricane Ivan and the accompanying 20-foot (6 m) storm surge. Ivan destroyed much of the wildlife habitat and left extensive debris in its wake including propane tanks, boats, jet skis, trailers, parts of buildings, and other construction debris. The Jeff Friend and Pine Beach trail systems suffered extensive damage. Debris cluttered the Jeff Friend unit, while the Pine Beach trail suffered the loss of both the Gator Lake boardwalk and observation pavilion. Following repairs and the replacement of the boardwalk, both trails are now open to the public. The dunes of the Purdue and Fort Morgan units suffered extensive damage but natural processes are beginning to repair the damage.
Damage from Hurricane Ivan (2004)