John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System, a network of lands set aside for the benefit of native wildlife and plants. Established in 1972 through local activism, the refuge protects habitat for the benefit of both people and wildlife. Visitors to the refuge may observe hundreds of species of plants, trees, birds, insects and mammals.
50th Anniversary Celebration - June 30, 2022

Celebrate with free archery, paddling, guided nature and history walks, guided trolley tour, food, and more! 

Full Schedule

Visit Us

With more than 10 miles of trails, the refuge provides many opportunities for visitors to connect with nature. Stop by the front desk of the Visitor Center and find helpful information, including maps, brochures, birding checklists and restrooms. Binoculars and fishing rods are available for loan, free of charge. Food is not available for purchase. Explore the Center’s exhibits to learn more about the wildlife and habitats of the refuge and the communities that support the refuge’s work. 

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Celebrated as America's First Urban Refuge, John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum was established in 1972. The refuge is a treasured green space nestled within the city of Philadelphia, teeming with a rich diversity of fish, wildlife, and plants native to the Delaware Estuary. The refuge supports a diversity of habitats, including freshwater tidal marsh, open waters, mudflats, and woodlands that the hundreds of species call home.  

      With deep respect, we acknowledge John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum as the homeland of the Unami-speaking Lenni Lenape of the Turtle Clan, who continue to live here in Lenapehokink, their traditional homeland, and in the diaspora. The Unami, or People Down River, are one of three dialect clans of the Lenni Lenape. Sometimes translated to the “Original People” or “Ancient Ones”, Lenni Lenape were regarded by some as “The Grandfathers” of the Algonquian family tree for their peaceful mediation. We are thankful they have been the caretakers of the land, waters, and wildlife here for thousands of years and continue to learn about their complex history and rich cultures. Please join us in celebrating their history and ongoing presence by doing the same. 

      Xeli Onkuntuwakan ok Wanishi wemi, 

      (many blessings and much thanks in Unami dialect of Lenape) 

      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 national wildlife refuge
      A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

      Learn more about 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.

      Our Species

      John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is a unique, urban oasis where both people and wildlife can find their space outdoors. It is notably home to the largest remaining freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania, known as Tinicum Marsh.

      Bald Eagle

      A large raptor, the bald eagle has a wingspread of about seven feet. Adults have a dark brown body and wings, white head and tail, and a yellow beak. Juveniles are mostly brown with white mottling on the body, tail, and undersides of wings. Adult plumage usually is obtained by the sixth year. In...

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      red-bellied turtle
      American red-bellied turtle
      Northern Red-bellied Cooter
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      Great Blue Heron
      FWS Focus

      Get Involved

      From trail maintenance to environmental education to the front desk, there are many opportunities to contribute! Join a cohort of dedicated volunteers that help make the refuge run!