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Dry Tortugas National Park

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Dry Tortugas
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Designation National Park
Location Florida USA
Nearest City Key West, Florida
Coordinates Template:Coor dm
Area 64,701 acres
26,184 ha
Date of Establishment October 26, 1992
Visitation 74,576 (2003)
Governing Body National Park Service
IUCN category II (National Park)

Dry Tortugas National Park is a United States National Park, located in the Dry Tortugas islands of the Florida Keys. The park covers 101 mi˛ (262 km˛).

It is famous for abundant sea life, colorful coral reefs and legends of shipwrecks and sunken treasures. The park's centerpiece is Fort Jefferson, a massive but unfinished coastal fortress that was rendered obsolete by the invention of the rifled cannon. The fort was eventually converted into a prison for Union Army deserters and the accomplices implicated in President Abraham Lincoln's assassination. The U.S. Army abandoned the fortress in 1874 and a nearby sooty tern rookery was a favored hunting ground for egg collectors until a wildlife refuge was established in 1908. In 1935 President Franklin Roosevelt designated it Fort Jefferson National Monument, and in 1992 the Dry Tortugas was declared a national park. The islands do not exhibit any standing fresh water or even seasonal streams, hence their name. Owing to the potential difficulties of survival in such conditions one of these islands were used as the location for the filming of a military survival film used to train aircraft personnel.

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Fort Jefferson

The park is roughly 70 miles or 110 kilometers by boat west of Key West, and plays host to almost 80,000 visitors each year. Activities include snorkeling, picnicking, scuba diving, saltwater fishing and birdwatching.

The most popular bird watching event is the sooty tern gathering, the nesting season on Bush Key between February and September involving an estimated 100,000 terns. Bush Key remains closed to visitors during the nesting season, but bird watchers with binoculars or telephoto lenses can watch the spectacle from Fort Jefferson. Other bird species in the park include noddies, brown pelicans, frigate birds, masked boobies, roseate terns, brown boobies and double-crested cormorants.

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External links


Template:National parks of the United StatesTemplate:End boxpl:Park Narodowy Dry Tortugasde:Dry-Tortugas-Nationalparkfr:Dry Tortugas National Park
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