WILD ABOUT WAKULLA features ST. MARKS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
highlighting the SMNWR History Trail
This unique refuge was established in 1931 to provide wintering habitat for migratory birds. It is one of the oldest refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. It encompasses 68,000 acres spread out between Wakulla, Jefferson, and Taylor counties along the Gulf Coast of northwest Florida. The refuge includes coastal marshes, islands, tidal creeks and estuaries of seven north Florida rivers, and is home to a diverse community of plant and animal life. The refuge also has strong ties to a rich cultural past, and is home to the St. Marks Lighthouse, which was built in 1832 and is still in use today.
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge also contains a rich history that dates from the prehistoric and includes seineyards, wars, Spanish explorers, powerful storms, three lighthouses and even a ghost town. The Association has completed the installation of six history and culture kiosks. Visitors can learn the rich history of the Refuge through the kiosks set up at significant points. In addition to viewing the images and text, brochures are available at each kiosk that contain additional information. The history trail begins at Wakulla Beach and the Goose Creek Seineyard and ends at the Aucilla River. Many of the sites are along the 7 mile road that leads down to the historic St. Marks Lighthouse from the Refuge Visitor Center. There are interesting side hiking trails including the Plum Orchard Trail and the Mounds Interpretative Trail.