Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge encompasses some of Alabama’s last remaining undisturbed coastal barrier habitat. The name Bon Secour comes from the French meaning “safe harbor,” very appropriate considering the sanctuary for native flora and fauna the refuge provides. As the surrounding area becomes increasingly developed, Bon Secour is indeed a natural oasis of wildlands, where wildlife can exist without harm.
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge was established by Congress in 1980 for the protection of neotropical migratory songbird habitat and threatened and endangered species. Bon Secour represents an important stopover and staging habitat for neotropical migratory songbirds during the fall and spring migration along the Alabama coastline. Migratory birds utilize this area for resting and building fat reserves critical to successful migration.
The refuge also provides crucial habitat for the endangered Alabama beach mouse that inhabits the beach dune and scrub/shrub habitats found along the Fort Morgan Peninsula. Beach mice have experienced a substantial reduction in available habitat, primarily due to coastal development. Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge protects the last remaining undisturbed beach mouse habitat found in Alabama, consisting of several key plant communities that form a mosaic of micro-habitats.
Loggerhead, green, and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles nest on Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge beaches. Conservation strategies to protect these turtles under the Endangered Species Act include on-site nest monitoring and protection, as well as fostering a public ethic through educational programs.
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is aimed at protecting and preserving these unique habitats and associated wildlife for generations to come. The refuge also serves as a living laboratory for students and scientists, and provides wildlife oriented public recreation.
12295 State Highway 180
Gulf Shores, AL 36542
The refuge is open to visitors year-round, during daylight hours only. The Visitor Center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Visitor Center is closed on federal holidays.
Tips ‘n Tricks
During the summer months a hat, sunscreen and bug repellent will make your visit a success. Biting insects are year round residents and especially plentiful during the summer months. Water is also extremely important; it is easy to become dehydrated while hiking and wildlife watching on the refuge. Pets are not permitted on the refuge at any time, with the exception of service dogs
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