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
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 ais 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.
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.
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!