Saturday, April 11, 2009

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge - St. Marks, Florida

One of the most beautiful and historic settings on Florida's Gulf Coast seems far removed from the white sand beaches for which the region is known.

The St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge occupies tens of thousands of acres of coastal marshes and beautiful natural areas on the Big Bend coast south of Tallahassee. Known for its remarkable environmental setting that is rich in wildlife and for the annual Monarch butterfly migration that leaves from the refuge each fall, the refuge is also rich in historic and archaeological sites.

The best known of these is the St. Marks Lighthouse, a beautiful white tower that has stood on the point near the mouth of the St. Marks River for over 150 years. It played an important role during the Civil War and was the principal landing point of Union forces during the Natural Bridge expedition.

Other sites in the refuge include the former location of the town of Port Leon. Now located down a long hiking trail, the town was destroyed by a devastating 19th century hurricane and never rebuilt. Not a single building remains.

To learn more about the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, please visit

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