About the Refuge
Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge contains the largest contiguous section of undeveloped beach in Southeastern Florida and is considered one of the most productive sea turtle nesting areas in the Southeastern United States. The Refuge is a sanctuary for nearly 40 species listed as either threatened, endangered, or of special concern. It is an oasis for people who wish to experience what the early days of Florida must have been like. This biodiversity is supported by a large remnant of sand pine scrub, nearly 10 miles of mangrove communities along the Indian River Lagoon, and 3.5 miles of Atlantic Ocean beach. The beauty and uniqueness of Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge inspires others to protect our wild places for future generations.
More about the Refuge
Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 643 Refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System - a network of lands set aside and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service specifically for wildlife. The area consists of 1,091 acres, bisected by the Indian River Lagoon into two tracts: the Jupiter Island tract and the mainland tract. On Jupiter Island, the Refuge contains the largest contiguous section of undeveloped beach in Southeastern Florida and is considered one of the most productive sea turtle nesting areas in the Southeastern United States. The mainland tract contains one of the few remaining publicly owned sand pine scrub communities. This community type is important to the Refuge because it is where the majority of the Refuge’s listed species reside. The Indian River Lagoon and its associated mangrove communities are also important because they provide habitat to numerous aquatic and terrestrial species and help support Florida’s fisheries. In general, our management strategy is to create and maintain an ideal environment for native flora and fauna to flourish.
- Restore and conserve diverse habitats, species populations, and biological integrity.
- Conserve natural and cultural resources through partnerships, protection, and land acquisition.
- Develop appropriate and compatible wildlife-dependent recreation, environmental education, and interpretive programs that lead to enjoyable experiences and a greater understanding of fish, wildlife and habitat conservation by the public.
Early in the 20th century, the rush to develop Florida resulted in a great loss of native habitats. However, this Refuge’s very existence was born out of the vision of conservation-minded Jupiter Island residents. This included the Joseph V. Reed family who conveyed lands to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1969 primarily for the conservation of species and the preservation of undeveloped vistas.
The Tequesta, Ais, and Jaega native tribes were hunter-gatherers of Jupiter Island and the surrounding area during the 18th century when the Europeans arrived. Hobe Sound’s name derived from the Jaega, or the “Jobe” native people. The diverse array of plants on the Refuge were used by early people as food, medicine, and tools. For instance, “chickee” huts were built with a hardwood frame and a saw palmetto thatched roof like the one pictured that sits behind the Refuge headquarters.