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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
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Sunrise over the dunes at Bon Secour NWR.
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Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

The Bon Secour NWR consists of 6,700 acres of wildlife habitat lying directly west of Gulf Shores, Alabama on the Fort Morgan peninsula of south Alabama. The refuge was established by congress in 1980 to serve habitat for non-game birds migrating south in the fall and north in the spring. The migration paths from Bon Secour lead south to lower Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.

Getting There . . .
Bon Secour NWR is located on the Fort Morgan peninsula, west of Gulf Shores, Alabama. From US 59, turn west on State Highway 180. Follow 180 for 8 miles, around mile marker 13, and the visitor center is located on the right. Along the way, there are directional signs for the hiking trails and for the office, which has a small display area.

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The name Bon Secour comes from the French meaning "safe harbor", very appropriate considering the sanctuary for native flora and fauna that the refuge provides. The refuge serves the additional benefit of comprising one of the largest undeveloped parcels of land on the Alabama coast. Its dunes are a reminder of the Gulf Coast, as it once existed. As a consequence, the refuge has been named as one of the 10 natural wonders of Alabama.

The refuge is small, compared to most national wildlife refuges, and is comprised of five separate units. The full-time staff consists of five, but the refuge has numerous committed volunteers throughout the year. The refuge hosts more than 50,000 visitors annually and has a current budget (FY 02) of $355,500

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Management Activities
Goals of the refuge are to conserve fish, wildlife and plants, which are listed as endangered or threatened species, to conserve an undisturbed beach/dune ecosystem which includes a diversity of fish and wildlife, and for the development, advancement, management, conservation and protection of fish and wildlife resources.

The Refuge is home to the endangered Alabama beach mouse, which is associated with the sand dunes and sea oats. Refuge beaches serve as nesting sites for green, loggerhead, and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles. Habitats include beaches and sand dunes, scrub forest, fresh and saltwater marshes, fresh water swamps, and uplands.

More than 400 species of birds have been identified and banded at the refuge during migratory seasons. The largest are usually ospreys and several species of herons. At the other extreme, seven species of hummingbirds have been identified. Mammals such as red fox, wild pig, coyotes, armadillos and others are also present