Published On: Fri, Feb 8th, 2019

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1980 for the purpose of preserving some unique barrier habitat which is largely gone from the United States’ gulf coast. The refuge is an oasis among a sea of souvenir shops and condominiums which have come to define the coastlines as more people move along the nation’s shores each year; this makes preserving this habitat even more critical for the numerous species of native flora and fauna which rely upon it.

Bon Secour, National Wildlife, Refuge

Sea Turtles and Bon Secour

Both Loggerhead and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles nest along the five miles of beach lying within the confines of the refuge. They are found in moderate to high densities (approximately five nests per mile) compared to elsewhere on the gulf coast. Both species are protected under the Endangered Species Act and face many threats, so the refuge is very important to their success. Alabama’s Share the Beach program serves to protect the sea turtles during the nesting season.

Birds and Bon Secour

Over 370 species of birds are found in Bon Secour, and migrating birds use the refuge as valuable stop-over habitat during their long journeys north and south in spring and fall. Piping plovers, a threatened species of shorebird, winters in the refuge. Watch overhead for Osprey which routinely raise their young on platforms and snags around the refuge. A variety of herons and egrets dot the landscape with their colorful plumage, from slate-grey Great Blue Herons, to forest – colored Green Herons, to pristine white Great Egrets.

Bon Secour’s Other Wildlife

The habitat of Bon Secour is diverse, from coastal sand dunes to pine-oak woodlands, providing an array of habitats for a variety of wildlife. The Alabama beach mouse, listed as endangered in 1985, finds refuge among the sand dunes and sea oats of Bon Secour. Its populations have been greatly impacted by coastal development. American Alligators, a species which rebounded from extremely low numbers and was removed from the Endangered Species Act in 1987, are regular fixtures within the refuge.

What to See and Do in Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

Five miles of beach and twelve miles of bayfront land offer ample opportunities for fishing, swimming and sunbathing. Gator Lake is also an option for fishing or boating (with small boats or canoes). A network of trails provide numerous hiking opportunities; take a short one mile hike (Jeff Friend Trail), a longer four mile hike (Pine Beach Trail), or make a day of it by linking the two trails with the two mile Centennial Trail, the refuge’s newest trail.

Just down the road is Gulf State Park, which also offers numerous recreational activities, including hiking and birdwatching.

About the Author

- Paul Linus is an eminent online journalist who has been writing news, features and editorials on different websites from across the world for about a decade. He can be contacted at

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