While outdoor sites remain open at the Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges during the current coronavirus pandemic, we urge visitors to follow CDC guidelines.
Maintain adequate social distancing, avoid overcrowding and exercise good hygiene.
If a parking lot is full when you visit, please do not stop. Pay strict attention to social distancing guidance and do not crowd overlooks, piers, or viewing areas by compromising this guidance.
We understand that the outdoors can help relieve stress, but these guidelines must be followed for our public health and safety. For now, the refuge visitor center and other public facilities are closed and most scheduled events have been postponed. For more information please visit our webpage, FWS Coronavirus Response.
The Refuges take their responsibility very seriously in protecting the public safety and welfare. We will be forced to close our public outdoor areas if visitors will not police their own social distancing precautions. Please respect the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control.
Any questions, call/text Andrew Gude at 703.622.3896.
The Refuges are open! Please adhere to CDC, State of Florida, and local directives on this pandemic event. Our lands, waters, trails, roads, fishing, turkey hunt season, boardwalks, fishing piers, viewing areas, boat launches, etc. are there for you to safely and responsibly enjoy. As long as we have cleaning supplies, we will maintain the public restrooms. We are all eager to stay healthy and keep others healthy as well.
The Refuge is big enough that we can keep a safe distance from each other and enjoy nature's beauty in Spring. The trails and roads are here for you. Come enjoy fishing, see the butterflies and the birds, put your boat in at McCormick Creek, Shellmound, or Shired Island launches. Drive the Nature Drive. Walk down the River Trail to the gazebo and sing a verse of Way Down Upon the Suwannee River.
We will miss visiting with you at headquarters; we have had to close the headquarters building and rest room because of Coronavirus precautions. But please, come on out and enjoy the nature-based recreation that the Refuge is known for.
Stay well! ~ Andrew (call or text 703.622.3896).
This is prime time for watching Spring butterflies get their start on the beautiful new flowers popping up all over the refuge. The Juniper hairstreaks are flying and the swallowtails are visiting the many gigantic purple thistle blooms that are showing up along the roadsides.
Board member John Thalacker installed several new signs along the River Trail to help with plant identification. Next in the ongoing work to keep the trail visitor friendly for all will be flattening or covering about 40 spots along the path to the Tram Trail from the east end of the parking area, in order to make the path more accessible for wheelchair users.
On March 14, board member Debbie Jordan staffed a Friends of Refuges table at the Suwannee Arts and Nature Festival. Though not as many came as in former years, many local folks attended. Others came from Gainesville to participate in a festival kayaking expedition led by Lars Anderson. Musicians, including Friends board member Matt Chatowsky, provided live entertainment.
Offering brochures about the Refuge, membership applications and Swallow-tailed Kite T-shirts, we raised almost $200 for the Swallow-tailed Kite Migration Fund and recruited nine new and renewing members.
According to Debbie, the most fun part of the day was having a chance to tell people about the incredible 10,000-mile migration of Swallow-tailed Kites. The Friends partnered with National Audubon to outfit and track Suwannee, “our” Swallow-tailed Kite for two years. Through the tracking research, we are learning first-hand where the kites go when they leave our area . . . all the way down to Mato Grosso, Brazil!
To donate to this cause, you may mail a check to
Friends of Refuges, P.O. Box 532, Cedar Key, FL 32625
Please notate Suwannee’s Migration Fund.