Dry Tortugas National Park Facts

Dry Tortugas National Park Facts
Dry Tortugas National Park is a 100 square mile park located about 70 miles west of Key West, in Monroe County, Florida, in the United States. Dry Tortugas is well known for the sunken treasures and shipwrecks in the area, as well as the coral reefs, tropical birds, and sea life that are abundant in its area. Fort Jefferson, an uncompleted fortress that began being built in 1824, is also preserved by the national park status. Juan Ponce de Leon, an explorer, visited the Dry Tortugas in 1513 and named it 'Tortugas' after the large number of turtles he found there. In 1822 the United States acquired the Dry Tortugas from Spain. In 1935 President Roosevelt designated 47,125 acres as Fort Jefferson National Monument and in 1992 it was re-designated Dry Tortugas National Park.
Interesting Dry Tortugas National Park Facts:
The term 'Dry' in Dry Tortugas is used to refer to the Island's lack of surface fresh water.
Dry Tortugas National Park is comprised of 99% water. The remaining 1% is made up of seven major islands and 104 acres of land in total.
The seven major islands of Dry Tortugas National Park include Loggerhead Key, Garden Key, Bush Key, Long Key, Hospital Key, East Key, and Middle Key.
To the northwest of Dry Tortugas National Park is the Tortugas Ecological Reserve.
To the south, east, and west of Dry Tortugas National Park is the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Dry Tortugas National Park is part of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme, being included as part of the Everglades & Dry Tortugas Biosphere Reserve which was established in 1976.
Dry Tortugas National Park is subjected to hurricanes frequently because of its location, mostly from May to October.
Fort Jefferson, the incomplete fortress built on Garden Key in Dry Tortugas National Park has more than 16 million bricks in its structure. This makes it the America's largest masonry structure in existence.
Visitors to Dry Tortugas National Park can enjoy snorkeling, beaches, bird watching, boating, camping, and visiting Fort Jefferson.
Rare species of birds that can be seen at Dry Tortugas National Park include the golden warbler, shiny cowbird, Caribbean short-eared owl, frigatebird, brown pelican, double-breasted cormorant, red-footed booby, red-necked phalarope, and the bridled tern.
There are more than 299 bird species that can be found in Dry Tortugas National Park.
The Dry Tortugas are a popular place for sea turtles to nest. Species that can be found at Dry Tortugas National Park include green turtles, hawksbill turtles, and loggerhead turtles.
Dry Tortugas National Park is home to nesting colonies of birds that do not nest anywhere else on the United States mainland. These include the masked booby, magnificent frigatebird, brown noddy, and the sooty tern.
Fish found in the colorful coral reef of Dry Tortugas National Park include amberjacks, groupers, wahoos, barracudas, sharks, reef fish, tarpons, sea fans, sea anemones, sponges, and lobsters.
More than 80,000 people visit Dry Tortugas National Park each year. The only way to reach the park is by charter or private boat, ferry, or float plane.


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