Tag Archives: trek

Tuesday Trek: John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

I’m Tom Barnes — you might know me from my TGIF with Tom column. And now, I’m bringing you Tuesday Trek! Each Tuesday, I’ll give you some insight about a refuge destination you might enjoy. Planning a winter vacation? Spring break? I might know the perfect spot for your upcoming travels!

When I visited Philadelphia, I was mostly concerned with finding a Philly cheesesteak to authenticate the experience. But on the drive into town, I remember catching sight of an expansive wilderness juxtaposing the city skyline cutting above it. John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is an urban national wildlife refuge, an oasis of natural lands and unique wildlife habitat right in Philadelphia. For a breath of fresh air in the city, check out the largest freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania on the refuge.

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As a key stopover on the Atlantic Flyway, many species of migratory bird will rest and feed here, making it ideal for the urban birder. Around 300 discrete species have been observed here over the years. The refuge offers a number of birding programs year-round. And after all, you can always grab that Philly cheesesteak just a few minutes away.

Tuesday Trek: Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia

Even when your not hitting the surf,  there’s still plenty to do in Virginia Beach, like visit Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is over 9,000 acres and features sand dunes, ocean beaches, woodlands and large freshwater marshes—crucial for wintering waterfowl. As Back Bay is a major stopover on the Atlantic Flyway for migratory birds, you’re bound to spot some of the tundra swan, snow geese or American black duck that make Back Bay their home this time of year.

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In fact, the refuge features tram tours throughout the winter season for visitors to view and take pictures of these impressive birds. With over eight miles of scenic trails for you to enjoy, the barrier islands of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge are worth experiencing.