Most of the refuge is only accessible by boat. The only land base access to the refuge is located at the Salt Marsh Trail off Mason Creek Road, where visitors can hike trails, launch paddle craft, enjoy a sheltered pavilion, and observe wildlife from a two story tower (above).
Location and Contact Information
The refuge was established in 1943 primarily to benefit waterfowl in an area famous as a wintering location for ducks and coots. Today, although waterfowl numbers in central Florida have declined, the refuge has become increasingly important to endangered West Indian manatees which use many of the refuge’s tidal bays, creeks and rivers.
What We Do
Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the National Wildlife Refuge System. It drives everything on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands and waters managed within the Refuge System, from the purposes for which a national wildlife refuge is established to the recreational activities offered to the resource management tools used. Using conservation best practices, the Refuge System manages Service lands and waters to help ensure the survival of native wildlife species.
Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge establishes and maintains critical habitat for the Florida manatee and protects unspoiled estuarine habitat along Florida’s west coast that serves as an important breeding and feeding ground for marine life. Originally established for the protection of migratory birds, it is home to many species of birds, both year-round and seasonally.