U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Bon Secour
National Wildlife Refuge

12295 State Highway 180
Gulf Shores, AL   36542
E-mail: bonsecour@fws.gov
Phone Number: 251-540-7720
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Sunrise over the dunes at Bon Secour NWR.
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  Recreation and Education Opportunities

Environmental Education
The refuge serves as a living laboratory for scientists and students. It provides wildlife-dependent recreation for the public

Gator Lake, located off the Pine Beach Trail, is a 40-acre lake that is open year round for fresh water fishing. Largemouth bass, catfish, and bluegill are the most commonly caught species. Canoes and small boats are allowed, as are electric trolling motors; gasoline motors are prohibited. Vessels must be portaged a mile down the Pine Beach Trail. A valid Alabama freshwater fishing license is required.

Salt-water fishing is also available. Accessible areas on the refuge for saltwater fishing are at the Mobile Street beach access and Little Lagoon off Jeff Friend Trail. A valid Alabama saltwater fishing license is required.

The Friends Group is a group of citizens from all over the United States that have banded together to form a support group for the refuge. Many members are out of state residents who winter on the Gulf. The organization functions primarily as an advocacy group, making telephone calls and writing letters as needed. It also functions as a non-profit private organization to accept donations and land to improve the refuge and to improve wildlife habitat. In 2002, the Friends Group created an Adopt-A-Nest program. The program was very successful, raising more than $5,000 for endangered sea turtle conservation.

Share the Beach, a sea turtle volunteer program, is a program that was started to monitor, protect, and minimize impacts to sea turtles and their hatchlings, and to enhance successful nesting events along the Alabama coast. In 2002, volunteers contributed more than 5,000 hours to see that more than 3,000 loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings made it safely into Gulf waters. The program also supports educating the public about the threats to nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings.

Wildlife Observation
Bon Secour is open year-round during day light hours for hiking, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, and nature study. Two interpretive hiking trails are currently open from dawn until dusk, with a third trail under construction. The Pine Beach Trail is a 4-mile round trip trail. A kiosk is located next to Gator Lake where visitors can stop for a picnic lunch. The Jeff Friend Trail, a 1-mile loop, offers a spectacular view of the lagoon. In 2003, construction will begin on a 2.2-mile trail connecting the two existing trails. The completion of the "Centennial Trail" is expected in late 2003. During the hot, humid summer months, don't forget water and insect repellant.

Visitor Center - Open 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday - Friday. Trails are open from dawn to dusk 7 days a week, year round

Use Fees
- Refuge Profile Page -