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Florida Keys Wilderness

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Area Management

The Florida Keys Wilderness is part of the 110 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. This System of lands provides clean air, water, and habitat critical for rare and endangered plants and animals. In wilderness, you can enjoy challenging recreational activities like hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horse packing, bird watching, stargazing, and extraordinary opportunities for solitude. You play an important role in helping to "secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness" as called for by the Congress of the United States through the Wilderness Act of 1964. Please follow the requirements outlined below and use Leave No Trace techniques when visiting the Florida Keys Wilderness to ensure protection of this unique area.

Personal watercraft (PWC), seaplane landings, hovercraft, airboats, and water skiing are prohibited within the boundaries of Key West and Great White Heron refuges, including wilderness islands.

Visitors to refuge islands are permitted only from one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset. Access to the islands is by private or rented vessels. Commercial operators are currently not permitted to access the refuge islands. Accessing areas above mean high tide requires a special use permit. For further information, contact National Key Deer Refuge visitor center, Big Pine Key Plaza, 179 Key Deer Blvd. Big Pine Key, FL. 33043, 305-872-0774, or at

Pets are prohibited on the islands.

Geocaching (considered littering) is prohibited.

Searching for and removing antiquities is prohibited. Open fires are prohibited.

Overnight camping is not permitted in the wilderness areas of the three refuges in the Lower Florida Keys. There are no facilities on any of the refuge managed islands. The nearest facilities are in Key West.

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