, ,

Keys National Wildlife Refuge Resumes Guided Walks & Rides

The Florida Keys' National Key Deer RefugeWe’ve learned, courtesy of KeysNet.com, that the National Key Deer Refuge is resuming guided trail walks and bike rides designed for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels.

In an effort to keep everyone together, the centralized meeting point will be at the refuge’s Visitor’s Center in the Winn-Dixie shopping plaza on Big Pine Key. From there, participants will be given maps to the starting site and caravan together. A prompt departure to the trail locations will take place at 8:10 a.m. so plan to arrive early. Each walk will end by 11.

Participants should bring a hat, sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes, water, binoculars and field guides; dress appropriately for the weather. A limited supply of loaner field guides and binoculars will be available. Feel free to ask for one if you don’t have your own.

For more information, call Kristie Killam at the National Key Deer Refuge Visitor Center at 304-9625 or send an e-mail to kristie_killam@fws.gov.

Here is the schedule:

  • Dec. 12, bike Lower Sugarloaf Key, mostly paved, some off-road trail, six miles.
  • Dec. 19, walk Long Beach, Big Pine Key, birds, beach habitats, sea creatures, one to two miles.
  • Dec. 20, Big Pine Key/No Name natural history bike ride, 13 miles.
  • Dec. 26, bike refuge lands, old U.S.1 at Saddlebunch Key, off-road, rough, eight miles.
  • Jan. 2, “marsh meander,” Big Pine Key, two to three miles.
  • Jan. 9, walk, No Name Key from pinelands to hardwood hammocks, two miles.
  • Jan. 17, Big Pine/No Name natural history bike ride, 13 miles.
  • Jan. 23, bike and walk Upper Sugarloaf Key, sea-level rise tour, four miles.

Bring your own bikes for the bike trips. If you want to meet at the trailhead for any of the events, expect to be there around 8:30 to 8:40 a.m. If you need information on trailhead locations, call or send an e-mail.