Date Visited: 12/07/2020
Once home to the hunter-gatherer tribes of the Tequesta, Jobe, Ais, and Jaega, this 1091 acre Federally Endangered Florida sand pine scrub is home to a number of federally listed plants and animals.
Established September 30, 1969, this refuge system is actually divided into two parts that are split by the Indian River Lagoon. The Island portion protects over 3.5 miles of the largest contiguous section of undeveloped beach in southeastern Florida and is one of the most productive sea turtle nesting habitats in the United States, and the Mainland Portion that protects the Sand Pine Scrub Community.
We chose to visit the Mainland Tract for the sand pine scrub because it is where the majority of the refuges listed species reside and because this is where you can access one of the smallest and rarest ecoregions in the continental United States. Coastal development has destroyed over 90% of all sand pine scrub lands, which is what makes this place so special.
We took the .5 miles self-guided nature trail through several habit zones: the Sand Pine scrub, which is almost desert like in appearance at times, the mangrove habitat where three different species of Mangroves thrive and the Hardwood hammock which sits atop the calcium rich soil created by the discarded shells and bones of Native American shell middens.
Over half of the plant and animal species that call the refuge home can only be found in this unique and endangered landscape making it a vital necessity to continue efforts to preserve this area.
The Hobe Sound Nature Center, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization, located at the Mainland Tract entrance. It was closed due to Covid at the time we visited but you can learn about the work they do at their website: https://www.hobesoundnaturecenter.com/
Again, below is a short video/slideshow of what you can expect to see at the refuge.
Although we live in Florida, we never tire of learning about the unique and valuable biodiversity that our beautiful state has to offer, and our next stop is another one of those unexpected surprises we have found along the way.
Join us next week when we visit the Blowing Rocks Preserve and discover just how different one mile of beach can be from another. Until then…
Nathaniel P. Reed Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge 13640 SE Federal Hwy, Hobe Sound, FL 33455 (772) 546-6141 Website
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