Description - Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge was once the site of Fort Dade, an armament for Tampa at the beginning of the Spanish-American War. Today, this historic site serves as important habitat for brown pelicans and other migratory birds. The site is accessible by boat only. Several commercial guide boats in the St. Petersburg area offer daily excursions. Visitors to the 350-acre island may enjoy fishing, hiking, water sports, nature programs and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Copyright: - US Fish and Wildlife Service
Public Domain: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
- The island is approximately 350 acres in size and was established to provide nesting, feeding and resting habitat for brown pelicans and other migratory birds. Additional refuge objectives are to preserve and protect barrier island habitat and historical structures of national significance.
Egmont Key had a colorful military / historical past. Ft. Dade was built in 1882 with temporary gun batteries to protect Tampa at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. The Spanish fleet never came, but over 70 buildings were built between 1899 and 1916 and a small town with 300 residents existed.
Today, the combined resources of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida State Park Service provides better protection for Egmont Key and its wildlife and a more enjoyable experience for the visitor.
Recreation - Visitors to Egmont Key National Wildlife will find several outdoor recreation opportunities including fishing, hiking, viewing historical sites and participating in educational programs. Visitors to the island may also enjoy nature photography and viewing a wide range of resident and migratory birdlife.
Climate - Winters in west central Florida are normally mild with occasional temperatures dipping into the 30's and 40's Fahrenheit. However, averages range between 52 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit (11 - 18 Celsius). Summers are normally hot and muggy with temperatures and humidity usually exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Averages range between 81 and 83 degrees (27 - 29 Celsius). Precipitation for the central west area ranges between 52 and 56 inches per year.
The Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge is located on an island south of St. Petersburg between the Egmont and Southwest Channels. Boat access only.