Established in 1972, the John Heinz Refuge is America’s first urban refuge. Dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the Tinicum Marsh and promoting environmental education, the site contains the largest remaining freshwater tidal wetland in PA. Located close to the Philadelphia Airport, yet remarkably tranquil and remote feeling, visitors can access more than 10 miles of trails which loop through the property and are part of the East Coast Greenway. Additionally, from the Heinz Refuge Trails (HRT) it is possible to join the Cobbs Creek Connector through Eastwick Park. The HRT feature both paved and gravel surfaces and are ideal for walking, jogging or cycling.
The Heinz Refuge features a range of habitats, from tidal and non-tidal freshwater marshs, river systems, meadows, shrub lands, and riparian forests that once encompassed over 5,700 acres. In the 1600s marshes began to be drained of water and filled with soil, leaving about 285 acres of freshwater tidal marsh and a 145 acre non-tidal wetland. Today the wetlands are part of the refuge, named in honor of the late Senator John Heinz, who assisted in its preservation. The refuge’s diverse habitats support a wide variety of wildlife including over 300 species of birds. The Darby Creek also flows through the property and offers the opportunity to enjoy canoeing or kayaking. For more information click here.
Photos: Courtesy of John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum