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Plan Your Visit: Dry Tortugas National Park
Plan Your Visit: Dry Tortugas National Park
Published: 2011/10/15
Channel: drytortugasnps
Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park
Published: 2013/01/08
Channel: GoTraveler
Dry Tortugas National Park on Yankee Freedom III
Dry Tortugas National Park on Yankee Freedom III
Published: 2013/06/05
Channel: DryTortugasFerry
Dry Tortugas National Park - The Complete Experience (Vlog/Park #5)
Dry Tortugas National Park - The Complete Experience (Vlog/Park #5)
Published: 2016/05/23
Channel: Americas Parks
Crocodile being relocated from Dry Tortugas National Park
Crocodile being relocated from Dry Tortugas National Park
Published: 2017/05/14
Channel: shannon collingsworth
Florida Travel: Dry Tortugas: Remote Island Camping in the Keys
Florida Travel: Dry Tortugas: Remote Island Camping in the Keys
Published: 2012/09/26
Channel: VISIT FLORIDA
Camping at Dry Tortugas. Everything you need to know.
Camping at Dry Tortugas. Everything you need to know.
Published: 2016/10/22
Channel: phantom695
Vist the Dry Tortugas with Key West Seaplane Adventures
Vist the Dry Tortugas with Key West Seaplane Adventures
Published: 2014/01/09
Channel: KeyWestSeaplane
Dry Tortugas National Park | TPG
Dry Tortugas National Park | TPG
Published: 2017/05/16
Channel: Travel Pocket
TORTUGAS ROCK - DRY TORTUGAS NATIONAL PARK ASTRO TIMELAPSE
TORTUGAS ROCK - DRY TORTUGAS NATIONAL PARK ASTRO TIMELAPSE
Published: 2016/08/31
Channel: Harun Mehmedinovic
Dry Tortugas/Fort Jefferson, Key West, FL - Travel Thru History Show
Dry Tortugas/Fort Jefferson, Key West, FL - Travel Thru History Show
Published: 2014/02/14
Channel: travelthruhistory
Dry Tortugas National Park - Kungs This Girl Official
Dry Tortugas National Park - Kungs This Girl Official
Published: 2016/10/03
Channel: Natalia Komor
Dry Tortugas National Park - Key Largo (Snorkeling Footage)
Dry Tortugas National Park - Key Largo (Snorkeling Footage)
Published: 2015/12/19
Channel: Americas Parks
Exploring an ABANDONED CARIBBEAN FORTRESS | Dry Tortugas National Park | Key West, FL
Exploring an ABANDONED CARIBBEAN FORTRESS | Dry Tortugas National Park | Key West, FL
Published: 2017/05/06
Channel: Perfect Little Planet
Tour Fort Jefferson - Dry Tortugas National Park - West of Key West, Florida
Tour Fort Jefferson - Dry Tortugas National Park - West of Key West, Florida
Published: 2011/10/10
Channel: davidegg22
Florida Travel: Dry Tortugas: Seaplane to Snorkeling
Florida Travel: Dry Tortugas: Seaplane to Snorkeling
Published: 2014/09/12
Channel: VISIT FLORIDA
Snorkeling Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park
Snorkeling Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park
Published: 2016/08/01
Channel: DDubMedia
The Outsider
The Outsider's Guide to the Dry Tortugas
Published: 2016/04/27
Channel: The Outsider's Guide
Florida Travel: Why you should visit the Dry Tortugas
Florida Travel: Why you should visit the Dry Tortugas
Published: 2015/06/07
Channel: VISIT FLORIDA
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida - Full Tour HD (2016)
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida - Full Tour HD (2016)
Published: 2016/08/01
Channel: ACG Travel Videos
Visit Dry Tortugas National Park- Fall Promo 2017
Visit Dry Tortugas National Park- Fall Promo 2017
Published: 2017/08/28
Channel: DryTortugasFerry
Highlights from Dry Tortugas National Park
Highlights from Dry Tortugas National Park
Published: 2010/07/13
Channel: NatureValleyEast
Dry Tortugas trip 2016
Dry Tortugas trip 2016
Published: 2016/05/08
Channel: floridasurferjc
Key West Day 1 - Dry Tortugas National Park Camping
Key West Day 1 - Dry Tortugas National Park Camping
Published: 2017/01/21
Channel: Gone Adventuring With Victor
The Brilliant Blue Waters of Dry Tortugas
The Brilliant Blue Waters of Dry Tortugas
Published: 2016/01/19
Channel: 1st Look
Girls Camping Dry Tortugas | Florida National Park
Girls Camping Dry Tortugas | Florida National Park
Published: 2016/09/08
Channel: mirambling
GoPro: The Dry Tortugas: Fort Jefferson and Snorkeling
GoPro: The Dry Tortugas: Fort Jefferson and Snorkeling
Published: 2014/11/22
Channel: Rocke Adventures
Day Trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park
Day Trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park
Published: 2016/03/10
Channel: Wander The Map
American Crocodile Close Encounter [HD] - Dry Tortugas National Park
American Crocodile Close Encounter [HD] - Dry Tortugas National Park
Published: 2014/03/05
Channel: DiveandSeek
Boat & Anchor to Dry Tortugas National Park, Fort Jefferson
Boat & Anchor to Dry Tortugas National Park, Fort Jefferson
Published: 2016/10/27
Channel: Boating Adventures
Snapper Fishing and Grouper Fishing in Dry Tortuga National park
Snapper Fishing and Grouper Fishing in Dry Tortuga National park
Published: 2013/06/24
Channel: Addictive Fishing
A Day in the Tropics - Dry Tortugas
A Day in the Tropics - Dry Tortugas
Published: 2017/02/22
Channel: BottleOfWineForTwo
Take A Day Trip to Dry Tortugas National Park With Us!
Take A Day Trip to Dry Tortugas National Park With Us!
Published: 2017/02/05
Channel: Once Upon A Moran
Key West Seaplane Adventure to the Dry Tortugas National Park
Key West Seaplane Adventure to the Dry Tortugas National Park
Published: 2011/03/24
Channel: KeyWestSeaplane
Dry Tortugas National Park - in 4K!
Dry Tortugas National Park - in 4K!
Published: 2016/05/27
Channel: Cody Sheehy
GoPro4 Hollis Rebreather diving Dry Tortuga reefs
GoPro4 Hollis Rebreather diving Dry Tortuga reefs
Published: 2016/04/29
Channel: viktordanka1977
Key West Tours- Yankee Freedom Dry Tortugas Ferry
Key West Tours- Yankee Freedom Dry Tortugas Ferry
Published: 2013/12/20
Channel: DryTortugasFerry
Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park
Published: 2011/10/03
Channel: FloridaKeysTV
Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park
Published: 2017/04/06
Channel: GoExploreHD
Snorkeling Dry Tortugas | Florida Keys
Snorkeling Dry Tortugas | Florida Keys
Published: 2014/06/01
Channel: SNORKELINGDIVES.COM
Rural Girl Wanders: Fort Jefferson- Dry Tortugas National Park
Rural Girl Wanders: Fort Jefferson- Dry Tortugas National Park
Published: 2017/03/23
Channel: Kelsey Luedtke
Dry Tortugas National Park tour Part 1
Dry Tortugas National Park tour Part 1
Published: 2009/02/05
Channel: bseriest
First Loop of the Marathon at Dry Tortugas National Park
First Loop of the Marathon at Dry Tortugas National Park
Published: 2017/04/17
Channel: Bill Sycalik
Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park
Published: 2017/09/07
Channel: MARLOWE RAMIREZ
Dry Tortugas National Park - Florida
Dry Tortugas National Park - Florida
Published: 2009/07/06
Channel: VISIT FLORIDA
Camping & Snorkeling Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas
Camping & Snorkeling Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas
Published: 2016/09/06
Channel: Rich T
Yankee Freedom Snorkeling | Dry Tortugas National Park
Yankee Freedom Snorkeling | Dry Tortugas National Park
Published: 2014/05/23
Channel: SNORKELINGDIVES.COM
Cleatus, the Crocodile at Dry Tortugas National Park chasing Sue while snorkeling.
Cleatus, the Crocodile at Dry Tortugas National Park chasing Sue while snorkeling.
Published: 2016/04/25
Channel: Dave Waltman
Dry Tortugas National Park: Snorkeling off Garden Key
Dry Tortugas National Park: Snorkeling off Garden Key
Published: 2013/05/16
Channel: Daniel Staniforth
MONSTER GROUPER fishing in the Dry Tortugas National Park
MONSTER GROUPER fishing in the Dry Tortugas National Park
Published: 2013/06/20
Channel: Addictive Fishing
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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Dry Tortugas National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Fort-Jefferson Dry-Tortugas.jpg
Fort Jefferson
Map showing the location of Dry Tortugas National Park
Map showing the location of Dry Tortugas National Park
Map showing the location of Dry Tortugas National Park
Map showing the location of Dry Tortugas National Park
Location Monroe County, Florida, United States
Nearest city Key West
Coordinates 24°37′43″N 82°52′24″W / 24.62861°N 82.87333°W / 24.62861; -82.87333Coordinates: 24°37′43″N 82°52′24″W / 24.62861°N 82.87333°W / 24.62861; -82.87333
Area 64,701 acres (261.84 km2)[1]
Established January 4, 1935
Visitors 73,661 (in 2016)[2]
Governing body National Park Service
Website Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park is a national park in the United States about 68 miles (109 km) west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. The park preserves Fort Jefferson and the seven Dry Tortugas islands, the westernmost and most isolated of the Florida Keys. The archipelago's coral reefs are the least disturbed of the Florida Keys reefs.

The park is noted for abundant sea life, tropical bird breeding grounds, colorful coral reefs, and legends of shipwrecks and sunken treasures. The park's centerpiece is Fort Jefferson, a massive but unfinished coastal fortress. Fort Jefferson is the largest brick masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere,[3][4] and is composed of more than 16 million bricks. Among United States forts it is exceeded in size only by Fort Monroe, Virginia and Fort Adams, Rhode Island. Dry Tortugas is unique in its combination of a largely undisturbed tropical ecosystem with significant historic artifacts. The park is accessible only by seaplane or boat and has averaged about 63,000 visitors annually in the period from 2007 to 2016.[2] Activities include snorkeling, picnicking, birdwatching, camping, scuba diving, saltwater fishing and kayaking.

Dry Tortugas National Park is part of the Everglades & Dry Tortugas Biosphere Reserve, established by UNESCO in 1976 under its Man and the Biosphere Programme.[5]

Geography[edit]

Map of the Dry Tortugas archipelago

The Dry Tortugas is a small archipelago of coral islands about 70 miles (110 km) west of Key West, Florida. They represent the westernmost extent of the Florida Keys, though several reefs and submarine banks continue westward outside the park, beyond the Tortugas. The park area is more than 99 percent water. The seven major islands, all within the park, are, roughly from west to east, Loggerhead Key, Garden Key, Bush Key, Long Key, Hospital Key, Middle Key and East Key.[6] The park is bordered on the east, south and west by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and on the northwest by the Tortugas Ecological Reserve.[7] The total land area within the park is 104 acres (42 ha). The park is in a tropical maritime climate, with rainy seasons coinciding with hurricane season from May to October, and a drier season from November through April. The area is heavily influenced by frequent hurricanes and tropical storms. Even with exposure to tropical systems the Tortugas are among the driest places in Florida, with an annual precipitation of about 49 inches (120 cm). There is little temperature variation, with high temperatures in summer around 90 °F (32 °C) and low temperatures in winter around 66 °F (19 °C).[8]

The northern and western portions of the park, including the central island group, were designated a 46-square-mile (120 km2) "research natural area" on January 19, 2007, in which no marine life may be taken, nor may vessels anchor. Vessels wishing to moor in the research natural area must use designated mooring buoys or docks. About 54 percent of the park remains open for fishing.[9]

Visiting the park by private boat is difficult because of its distance, so most visitors come by ferry or seaplane from Key West. Official ferry and transportation services to the Dry Tortugas includes the Yankee Freedom III catamaran and seaplane services.[10]

Geology[edit]

The Dry Tortugas are the western extension of an arcuate chain of Pleistocene reef and oolitic limestone islands, with the eastern limit in the vicinity of Miami. These Florida Keys are the surface expression of the 6 km thick southern Florida carbonate platform, which has been accumulating sediments since the Early Cretaceous. Two stratigraphic units are exposed at the surface, the Key Largo Limestone and the Miami Limestone. The Key Largo Limestone are reefs up to 60 m thick, parallel to the shelf edge, consisting of hermatypic corals and calcarenites. The Miami Limestone is less than 15 m thick, and in general, is found behind the Key Largo Limestone reef, but overlies it in the western extent of the keys. It consists of a bryozoan facies and an oolitic facies and represents a subtidal shoal. Additionally, excellent examples of Holocene carbonate-sand deposits are found in the Dry Tortugas, consisting mainly of disarticulated Halimeda plates. Between the Dry Tortugas and Key West is a 12 m thick example of these sand deposits, known as "the quicksands".[11]

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Dry Tortugas, 1981-2010 normals, extremes 1950-present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 89
(32)
92
(33)
93
(34)
94
(34)
96
(36)
99
(37)
98
(37)
101
(38)
98
(37)
95
(35)
90
(32)
88
(31)
101
(38)
Average high °F (°C) 73.6
(23.1)
74.8
(23.8)
77.9
(25.5)
81.4
(27.4)
86.0
(30)
90.0
(32.2)
91.1
(32.8)
91.7
(33.2)
89.7
(32.1)
84.7
(29.3)
79.1
(26.2)
75.5
(24.2)
83.0
(28.3)
Average low °F (°C) 63.8
(17.7)
64.4
(18)
66.8
(19.3)
70.1
(21.2)
74.0
(23.3)
76.5
(24.7)
78.3
(25.7)
77.8
(25.4)
77.2
(25.1)
74.9
(23.8)
70.7
(21.5)
66.1
(18.9)
71.7
(22.1)
Record low °F (°C) 46
(8)
40
(4)
47
(8)
56
(13)
55
(13)
64
(18)
64
(18)
65
(18)
66
(19)
59
(15)
51
(11)
48
(9)
40
(4)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.61
(66.3)
2.11
(53.6)
2.54
(64.5)
2.00
(50.8)
1.57
(39.9)
3.41
(86.6)
2.90
(73.7)
4.26
(108.2)
6.63
(168.4)
3.88
(98.6)
2.02
(51.3)
2.49
(63.2)
36.42
(925.1)
Average rainy days (≥ 0.01 in) 6.4 5.6 5.5 3.7 4.3 8.3 9.4 11.3 13.3 8.7 5.4 5.9 87.8
Source: [1]

History[edit]

The first European to see the Dry Tortugas was Juan Ponce de León, who visited on June 21, 1513. Ponce de León caught 160 sea turtles there and subsequently referred to the islands as the "Tortugas" (turtles). They are called Dry owing to the absence of surface fresh water on the island. The archipelago includes a high concentration of historically significant shipwrecks dating from the 17th century to the present.[12] The Dry Tortugas were a significant American naval base from colonial times to the early 20th century, providing a sheltered anchorage and coaling station through the Spanish–American War.[13]

Florida was acquired from Spain by the United States in 1822. The Dry Tortugas were seen as a strategic point for the control of the Florida Straits and the Gulf of Mexico. Work on a lighthouse on Garden Key started in 1825. Planning for a fortification began almost immediately, and construction started in 1847. In 1856 work on a new, more powerful lighthouse on Loggerhead Key was started to replace the Garden Key light.[13]

Work was half complete in 1860. Construction continued into the American Civil War, but eventually stopped, and the fort was used as a military prison. It was here that Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was convicted of aiding John Wilkes Booth—the killer of President Abraham Lincoln—was imprisoned. Mudd later was freed after averting a viral outbreak. This use as a military prison continued until 1874.[13] With the introduction of coal-fueled ships, the Dry Tortugas became a coaling station for U.S. Navy ships.

Fort Jefferson[edit]

Brick archway in Fort Jefferson

Fort Jefferson is a massive but unfinished coastal fortress. It is the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere,[3][4] and is composed of more than 16 million bricks.

Park history[edit]

Comprising 47,125 acres (19,071 ha), Fort Jefferson National Monument was designated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt under the Antiquities Act on January 4, 1935. The monument was expanded in 1983 and redesignated as Dry Tortugas National Park on October 26, 1992, by an act of Congress.[14][15] Dry Tortugas is managed by the staff of Everglades National Park.[16] The park was established to protect the island and marine ecosystems of the Dry Tortugas, to preserve Fort Jefferson and submerged cultural resources such as shipwrecks, and to allow for public access in a regulated manner.[12]

During the Federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996, Dry Tortugas was closed along with all other national parks. Seeing this as having a damaging effect on their tourism-dependent economy, the residents of Key West, Florida, raised money to keep Dry Tortugas open. The effort was inspired by the Smithsonian Institution, which raised private donations to keep its museums open during the shutdown.

Failing to find anybody to accept the money to reopen the park, Key West residents, under the auspices of the satirical micronation Conch Republic, sent a flotilla of civilian boats and fire department boats to Fort Jefferson in order to reopen the national park. When officials attempted to enter the fort, they were cited. The citation was contested in court the following year, and the resultant case, The United States of America v. Peter Anderson, was quickly dropped.

The park is a landing location for immigrants arriving from Cuba in homebuilt boats called "chugs." Receiving and housing the migrants is a particular problem for Dry Tortugas, which has limited resources for such arrivals and which is several hours from the nearest Coast Guard or Border Patrol units. Communications with Key West are accomplished using a satellite-based voice-over-IP system, which is prone to garbling and delays, and by a radio relay system using an abandoned Air Force tower between Key West and the Dry Tortugas.[16]

Visitation steadily rose for several decades, reaching a peak of 83,704 in 2000. Since then visitation has slowly declined, with an average of about 63,000 per year in the period from 2007 to 2016.[2]

Ecology[edit]

Coral and various fish including a striped species known as a sergeant major

The Dry Tortugas archipelago is classified as a borderline subtropical—tropical ecosystem, hosting species that do not normally breed in, and are not commonly found anywhere else within, the continental United States or the islands and waters surrounding it.

When a cold front along Florida wiped out 96 percent of branching coral in 1976-77, once extensive branching coral formations became rubble fields.[17] The Dry Tortugas National Park now consists of patch reef and branching coral rubble.[17][18]

Birds[edit]

Dry Tortugas National Park has an official bird list of 299 species. Of these, only eight species frequently nest within the park: sooty tern, brown noddy, brown pelican, magnificent frigatebird, masked booby, roseate tern, bridled tern and mourning dove.[19] The park features the only nesting colonies of sooty tern, brown noddy, magnificent frigatebird, and masked booby in the contiguous United States.[8]

Birdwatching activity peaks each spring (usually April) when dozens of migratory bird species can pass through the park in a single day. Many birds land inside the parade grounds of Fort Jefferson where they are often observed at close range. Common migratory warblers include the northern parula, American redstart, prairie warbler, hooded warbler, palm warbler, black-and-white warbler, common yellowthroat, yellow-rumped warbler, ovenbird, northern waterthrush, black-throated blue warbler, blackpoll warbler, and Cape May warbler, with more than 20 additional warbler species having shown up at least once. Several raptor species as well as cattle egrets are often seen hunting songbirds. Until early 2013 a small freshwater fountain existed beneath several seaside mahoe and buttonwood trees, and was the only freshwater source for many miles. Maintenance issues necessitated its removal, but a replacement water barrel is scheduled for installation in the fall of 2013. Each year several bird guides offer tours of Dry Tortugas National Park during April and early May when daily bird lists can often reach 100 or more species.

Invasive species and eradication efforts[edit]

An active eradication program has resulted in the removal of invasive Casuarina trees and agave from Loggerhead Key, by cutting and herbicide treatment. Pterois, commonly known as lionfish, have also been found in the park's waters and the National Park Service was reviewing (in 2015) the lionfish management plan to determine what actions to take to manage the spread of this invasive species in Dry Tortugas National Park and Everglades National Park.[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Listing of acreage as of December 31, 2011". Land Resource Division, National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-06. 
  2. ^ a b c "NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report". National Park Service. Retrieved 2017-02-09. 
  3. ^ a b "National Park Service Dry Tortugas National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-12-09. 
  4. ^ a b Herndon, David (November–December 2001). "Trips: Florida's Dry Tortugas National Park". National Geographic Adventure. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  5. ^ "Everglades & Dry Tortugas". UNESCO. Retrieved 19 June 2016. 
  6. ^ Thornberry-Ehrlich, Trista L. (January 31, 2005). "Dry Tortugas National Park Geologic Resource Management Issues – Scoping Summary" (pdf). Colorado State University. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  7. ^ Dry Tortugas National Park Map (Map). National Park Service. 
  8. ^ a b "Final General Management Plan Amendment Environmental Impact Statement" (pdf). Dry Tortugas National Park. National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  9. ^ "Research Natural Area Will Be Effective January 19, 2007". Dry Tortugas National Park. National Park Service. January 18, 2007. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  10. ^ "Directions". Dry Tortugas National Park. National Park Service. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Randazzo, Anthony; Halley, Robert (1997). Randazzo, Anthony; Jones, Douglas, eds. Geology of the Florida Keys, in The Geology of Florida. Gainesville: University of Florida Press. pp. 251–259. ISBN 9780813014968. 
  12. ^ a b "Dry Tortugas National Park: 2000 Annual Report" (pdf). National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  13. ^ a b c "Places". Dry Tortugas National Park. National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  14. ^ "Dry Tortugas National Park Enabling Legislation". Dry Tortugas National Park. National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  15. ^ "Antiquities Act 1906–2006". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  16. ^ a b "Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks: Superintendent's Annual Report Fiscal Year 2010" (pdf). National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  17. ^ a b Di Santo, V; Pomory, CM; Bennett, WA (2009). "Algal Garden Cultivation and Guarding Behavior of Dusky Damselfish on Coral Rubble and Intact Reef in Dry Tortugas National Park". In: Pollock NW, ed. Diving for Science 2009. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 28th Symposium. Dauphin Island, AL. Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  18. ^ Muslic, A. et al. (2013). Linear Extension Rates of Massive Corals from the Dry Tortugas National Park (DRTO), Florida. Reston, Va.: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.
  19. ^ Roseate Terns recently returned to nest on Bush Key. The small Bridled Tern colony on Long Key began in 2007 with a single pair, and represents the first confirmed breeding of this species within the park. "Bird List Dry Tortugas National Park" (PDF). Archived from the original (pdf) on 2015-03-06. Retrieved 2013-06-18. 
  20. ^ Lionfish - Dry Tortugas National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

External links[edit]

Media related to Dry Tortugas National Park at Wikimedia Commons

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