• Dry Tortugas

    Dry Tortugas

    National Park Florida

Park Celebrates 75th Anniversary

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Date: October 18, 2010
Contact: General Park Info , 305-242-7700
Contact: Media Contact - Linda Friar, 305-242-7714

Key West, Florida:

WHAT:Celebrate the 75th anniversary of Dry Tortugas National Park with Superintendent Dan Kimball, park staff and the South Florida National Parks Trust on Saturday November 6, 2010 during a special day of ranger-guided programs at the park. Park visitors will have an opportunity that day to learn about the National Park Service's efforts to preserve, protect, and restore natural and cultural resources of this unique jewel of the national park system by joining special tours led by National Park Service experts.

Located almost 70 miles west of Key West, this remote park encompasses a cluster of seven islands composed of coral reefs and sand. Along with the surrounding shoals and waters, these islands make up Dry Tortugas National Park. The area is known for its famous bird and marine life, its legends of pirates and sunken gold, and its military past. First set aside as Fort Jefferson National Monument in 1935, the monument was expanded and renamed Dry Tortugas National Park in 1992.

Superintendent Dan Kimball and other dignitaries will welcome visitors to the park at 10:30 a.m. after which visitors can attend morning and afternoon programs or explore the island on their own.

Special Programs include:

· An overview of the birds of Dry Tortugas - Sonny Bass, Wildlife Biologist

· An overview of the park's protected marine resources through an agreement with the state of Florida known as the Research Natural Area - David Hallac, Park Chief of Biological Resources

· Discussion on the military history of Fort Jefferson - Chris Ziegler, Park Interpretive Ranger

· A talk on the preservation of Fort Jefferson – Kelly Clark, Exhibit Specialist A talk on historic cannon preservation at the fort – Nancy Russell, Museum Curator

WHEN: All presentations will be held on Saturday November 6, beginning at 11:00 am and again at 1:00 p.m. running for about one hour at various locations around Garden Key. Park staff will be on hand to help direct visitors to program locations on the 12 acre island.

WHERE:  The Park is accessible by ferry, seaplane, or private boat. The ferry and seaplane run daily out of Key West.

Tickets can be purchased directly from the Yankee Freedom (www.yankeefreedom.com) or Key West Seaplane (www.keywestseaplanecharters.com) or through the South Florida National Parks Trust (www.southfloridaparks.org), a non-profit organization that supports

South Florida 's four national parks. All ticket sales through the Trust will benefit the organization's work to protect, promote and enhance Dry Tortugas National Park .

As part of the park's 75th anniversary celebration, the South Florida National Parks Trust will host a cocktail reception and buffet supper at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center (35 East Quay Road in Key West) on Friday November 5. Tickets for the dinner and reception are $75 per person. Details at www.southfloridaparks.org

-NPS-

Did You Know?

Woman Snorkeling

Snorkeling is a great way to immerse yourself in the underwater world of the Dry Tortugas. Many wrecks and patch reefs lie in relatively shallow water and are easy to access. Be sure to ask for more information at the visitor center!