U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
Banner graphic displaying the Fish & Wildlife Service logo and National Wildlife Refuge System tagline

St. Marks
National Wildlife Refuge


Thoms Island, a designated wilderness area within St. Marks NWR, lies at the mouths of the Sopchoppy and Ochlockonee rivers as they empty into Ochlockonee Bay
1200 Lighthouse Road
St. Marks, FL   32355
E-mail: saintmarks@fws.gov
Phone Number: 850-925-6121.
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/st_marks/
Seven rivers flow through the Wilderness saltmarsh of the beautiful St. Marks NWR
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  Recreation and Education Opportunities

Environmental Education
The refuge has a premier outdoor classroom program for over 5,000 students on-site each year. Formal educational groups make reservations for guided programs on weather, freshwater and saltwater ecology, coastal habitats, butterflies, history and more. Educator workshops are also offered throughout each year. Off-site programs, field day events, and partnering with local schools provide enhanced awareness of the refuge's rich resources.

Fishing
The refuge offers excellent freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities year 'round. Boat ramps are available across the refuge and bank fishing is permitted. Scalloping and crabbing are popular in the summertime.

Hunting
Hunting is allowed in designated areas for resident game species from fall through spring. Contact the refuge for current dates, regulations and permits.

Interpretation
Exhibits and the refuge video are available at the Visitor Center. The St. Marks Refuge Association, Inc., the non-profit support organization for St. Marks NWR, runs a bookstore/gift shop in the visitor center that provides items that highlight the animals and plants of the refuge. Special events, such as Coastal Awareness Day and the popular Monarch Butterfly Festival, educate visitors about key refuge species and habitats.

Wildlife Observation
The 6.8 mile wildlife drive winds down Lighthouse Rd. through freshwater pools managed for wading birds and waterfowl, along fragrant, pine-edged natural saltmarshes, down to the historic St. Marks lighthouse on pristine Apalachee Bay. Wildlife viewing is usually best in the early morning and late afternoon hours, fall through spring. Wildflowers are particularly spectacular in April and October. There are over 85 miles of marked hiking trails across the refuge, including a 43 miles section of the Florida National Scenic Trail. Primitive walking trails on the St. Marks Unit and Panacea Unit offer hikes of longer than 5 miles. Shorter trails wind behind the Visitor Center, near Headquarters Pond, around Tower Pond, and along the Lighthouse Levee. Some parts of the refuge may be closed seasonally to protect sensitive wildlife area.


Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace is a national educational program to inform visitors about reducing the damage caused by outdoor activities, particularly non-motorized recreation. Leave No Trace principles and practices are based on an abiding respect for the natural world and our fellow wildland visitors. We can act on behalf of the places and wildlife that inspire us by adopting the skills and ethics that enable us to Leave No Trace.

1. Plan ahead and prepare.
2. Travel on durable surfaces.
3. Dispose of waste properly.
4. Leave what you find.
5. Respect wildlife.
6. Be considerate of other visitors.

For more information on Leave No Trace, visit the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics Web site. (http://www.lnt.org)




Hours
Visitor Center - open 8 am to 4 pm Monday - Friday; 10 am - 5 pm Saturday and Sunday. Wildlife drive and outdoor facilities open daily, dawn to dusk, year 'round.

Entrance Fees
A daily permit is required of all visitors to the Lighthouse Rd. area unless they possess an annual pass or lifetime passport. Passes are available at the Visitor Center and toll booth and include either a current Federal Duck Stamp, valid July 1 to June 30 ($15.00); a Golden Eagle Passport ($65.00); a St. Marks NWR Pass ($12.00); Golden Age Passports for those 62 years of age or older ($10.00); or the Golden Access Passports free for disabled citizens.


Private vehicle - $4.00
Pedestrian - $1.00
Bicyclist - $1.00
Commercial van or bus up to 20 passengers - $22.50
21 or more passengers - $50.00

Use Fees
$15.00 for 4 3-day quota hunts.
 
 
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