Dry Tortugas NP - Interesting Facts
The Dry Tortugas derived their name from the abundance of turtles that could be found in the area. Even today, lucky visitors may be able to spot loggerhead, green, hawksbill, and leatherback sea turtles plying the waters.
The USS Maine would make a brief stop at Fort Jefferson before its ill-fated voyage to Havanna. Following the sinking of the Maine, the Dry Tortugas served as an important staging area for U.S. battleships during the Spanish-American War.
The safe harbor of the Dry Tortugas provided a valuable staging ground for numerous military ships in the buildup to the Spanish-American War.
Despite over 30 years of construction, massive Fort Jefferson was never truly completed on the islands of the Dry Tortugas. Advances in weapon technology would come to render the fort obsolete by 1862.
Between the months of March and September, some 100,000 sooty terns will come to nest on the islands of the Dry Tortugas. They are joined by brown noddies, roseate terns, double-crested cormorants and brown pelicans.
What is special and significant about Dry Tortugas?
- contains historic Fort Jefferson, a militarily and architecturally signficant 19th century fort.
- protects the historic Loggerhead Key lighthouse, and the historic Garden Key harbor light.
- maintains one of the most isolated and least-disturbed habitats for endangered and threatened sea turtles in the United States.
- supports the only significant sooty and noddy tern nesting colonies on Bush and Long Keys and harbors the only U.S. frigate bird nesting colonies on Long Key.
- serves as an important resting spot for migrating birds.
- provides unique opportunities to view torpical seabirds.
- protects the least disturbed portion of the Florida Keys coral reef ecosystem.
- presents outstanding potentials for education, recreation, and scientific research related to the park's exceptional marine resources.
- offers a sense of quiet and remoteness and peace in a vast expanse of sea and sky.
- affords an opportunity to understand and appreciate a rare combination of natural, historic, marine, and scenic resources.
View of Fort Jefferson moat and walls from elevated terreplain around the Fort
Historic Lighthouse at Loggerhead Key in Dry Tortugas National Park.