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Heinz Wildlife Refuge: Winter walks, waterfowl and wildlife, plus new exhibits

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The John Heinz Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum has opened new exhibits in the visitor center and more installations are scheduled this winter while trails remain open for walking, biking and observation. Since its challenged history, the refuge continues to grow, improve and inspire. A new solar and geothermal exhibit was recently installed in the visitor center, a fishing exhibit at the dock, and two new kiosks are planned near Route 420, as well as, exhibits near the canoe launch area this winter. Free weekend programs and special winter events add to the encouragement for your visit.

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From grand, to nearly lost, Tinicum Marsh is again growing

Renamed in 1991, in honor of the late Senator’s commitment to protecting Tinicum Marsh, the John Heinz National Refuge is today nearly 1000 acres of woods, pond, marsh and meadow. Originally this area, called Tennakon Minqua or “islands of the marsh” by the Lenape Indians, was nearly 6000 acres. Over time, the name was condensed to Tinicum and the marshes were drained and filled, grazed and dwindled, until there was only 200 acres. When this remaining parcel was threatened in the 1960s, by construction of Interstate 95, local citizens took their save the marsh campaign to D.C. and successfully re-routed I-95. In 1972, the area was declared a national wildlife refuge and remains dedicated to wildlife conservation, as well as, protection of the largest remaining freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania.

There’s no need to wait until the warm months, the refuge offers a welcome respite for all living and working near Philadelphia. There is plenty of diverse wildlife to discover and trails to explore and new exhibits (inside) to inspire. Be part of the successful initiatives to reclaim the “islands of the marsh” of Tinicum, and you, too, may feel restored.

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