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Passage Key Refuge Celebrates Centennial: Roosevelt’s Great Grandson To Mark 1905 Establishment



September 30, 2005

Kyla Hastie, cell 404/275-4918
Sarah Palmisano,
352/5632088 x210


Passage Key National Wildlife Refuge in Tampa Bay, one of America’s first national wildlife refuges established by President Theodore Roosevelt, will celebrate 100th anniversary.


Jim Kraus, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mark Ames, great grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt
C.W. Bill Young, U.S. Representative (invited)
Sam Gibbons, former U.S. Representative
Additional partners including National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Pinellas County Environment Fund, Friends of Tampa Bay Refuge


Sunday, October 9 – interviews available at 6 pm – reception and brief ceremony, Henry B. Plant Museum, University of Tampa
Monday, October 10 – two opportunities for media transportation, call to reserve a seat
10 am – boat trip for dignitaries around Passage Key, then disembark at Egmont Key for centennial ceremony and lunch – depart Ft. DeSoto dock
11 am – second boat for media transportation straight to Egmont Key for ceremony
2 pm – approximate return time to Ft. DeSoto dock


  • On October 10, 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt established Passage Key National Wildlife Refuge in Tampa Bay as a Federal Bird Reservation. It was one of the first of the 55 “Roosevelt Refuges” that he would establish.
  • When it was set aside, Passage Key NWR was a lush 60-acre mangrove island that hosted more than 102 species of birds. Much of the island was destroyed in a 1921 hurricane, and today Passage Key NWR is a meandering island of less than 30 acres.
  • Passage Key and nearby Egmont Key NWR host the largest colonies of Royal terns and Sandwich terns in Florida.
  • The island was designated a Wilderness Area in 1970. In 1991, it was closed to the public year round to protect the island’s sensitive bird nesting habitat.
  • Passage Key NWR is one of more than 540 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System which conserves nearly 100 million acres of land for this nation’s fish and wildlife resources.

Fact Sheet: Passage Key NWR history

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