Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
|Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge|
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Observation Platform overlooking the C-7 compartment on the Marsh Trail
|Location||Palm Beach County, Florida, United States|
|Nearest city||Boynton Beach, Florida|
|Area||147,392 acres (596.47 km2)|
|Governing body||U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service|
The Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is a 147,392-acre (596.47 km2) wildlife sanctuary is located west of Boynton Beach, in Palm Beach County, Florida. It includes the most northern remnant of the historic Everglades wetland ecosystem.
Loxahatchee NWR is one of over 500 national wildlife refuges located throughout the United States and administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge not only preserves and protects native wildlife, but also offers compatible public recreational and educational opportunities including walking trails, a canoe trail, bike trail, boat ramps, fishing platform, observation towers, butterfly garden, and a visitor center. It is home to American alligator, the endangered snail kite, and as many as 257 species of birds. As such, it has been designated a 'gateway site' for the Great Florida Birding Trail.
Not quite all of the 147,392-acre (596.47 km2) refuge is Everglades marsh habitat. A 400-acre (1.6 km2) bald cypress swamp is the largest remaining remnant of a cypress strand that once separated the pine flatwoods in the east from the Everglades marshes. A boardwalk into the swamp gives the visitor a chance for an up-close swamp experience without getting his or her feet wet. Hurricane Wilma damaged the refuge in October 2005, and the administration building was condemned.
Despite all of its treasures, the refuge is in serious danger of quickly becoming an exclusive haven for invasive plants, especially the broad-leaved paper bark (Melaleuca quinquenervia) and Old World climbing fern (Lygodium microphyllum), both rapidly growing non-native species, which are quickly overgrowing the native flora and are likely not compatible with the native wildlife.
- Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
- Friends of Loxahatchee
- The Arthur R. Marshall Foundation
- The Everglades Trail
- Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge Passes & Permits - official pass / permit purchase site
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