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Egmont Key

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[Times photo: Fred Victorin 1999]
Thousands visit Egmont Key each year to swim and explore.

By TERRY TOMALIN, Times Outdoors Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 5, 2000


This unique barrier island that guards the mouth of Tampa Bay also is a critical nesting area for loggerhead sea turtles and numerous threatened and endangered species of migratory shorebirds.

Even though there is no public transportation to the 400-acre island, thousands of people visit Egmont Key every year. It is an important stopover for recreational anglers and boaters, as well as birders and other nature lovers.

Federal officials declared Egmont Key a national wildlife sanctuary in 1974. For thousands of years it has been a haven to animal life, including the gopher tortoise, a species of special concern.

Island environments such as Egmont's are particularly vulnerable to outside influences. Take, for example, Egmont's mammal population. All of the naturally occurring mammals -- bats, mice, rabbits and raccoons -- have disappeared because of feral cats.

Barrier islands such as Egmont Key are rare, occurring in fewer than 10 percent of the world's coastal waters. Most barrier islands continually change shape, like shifting sandbars, but Egmont is different. A firm bed of limestone supports the north end of the land mass and keeps the shape of the key relatively stable.

In addition to its natural wonders, Egmont Key has historical significance. During the Third Seminole War, captured Seminoles were imprisoned there. It also served as a Union Naval base during the Civil War.

For more information, call Egmont Key State Park at (727) 893-2627.

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Outdoors

  • Freediving off Bayport
  • Little Manatee River
  • Egmont Shipping Channel
  • Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve
  • The Tampa Bay Open Water Challenge
  • Snook
  • The Gunsmoke
  • Hiking in Withlacoochee State Forest
  • The Plunger
  • Shell Key
  • Running along the beach at Treasure Island
  • The Redington Long Pier
  • The St. Petersburg Yacht Club
  • The St. Petersburg Sailing Center
  • Mastry's Bait & Tackle
  • T.A. Mahoney's Marine Supply
  • Egmont Key
  • Blading at Fort DeSoto
  • Hillsborough River State Park
  • Sunshine Skyway fishing piers
  • The Great Scallop Search
  • Open-water swimming at Clearwater Beach
  • Rodbenders
  • Windsurfing at the Dunedin Causeway
  • St. Anthony's Triathlon
  • Trail riding at Wilderness Park
  • MacRae's Bait Shop
  • St. Pete Mad Dogs
  • O'Neill's Marina
  • Suncoast Surf Shop
  • The spring kingfish run
  • Florida Birding Festival
  • Sunset at Frenchy's Rockaway Grill
  • Red drum
  • 'The Kingfish King,'' Gene Turner
  • Bill Jackson Shop for Adventure
  • Tampa Bay Estuary Program
  • Building a sand castle
  • Saltwater Fly Fisherman
  • Eckerd College's Search and Recovery Team
  • Steve Yerrid's Kids Fishing Derby
  • The Weedon Island Canoe Trail
  • The Florida Marine Research Institute
  • Picnic Island Park
  • U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Clearwater
  • Merry Pier
  • Bass fishing on Lake Tarpon
  • Boyd Hill Nature Park
  • Horseback riding in Withlacoochee State Forest
  • Swim with the manatees in Crystal River
  • Brooker Creek Preserve
  • Spotted sea trout
  • Clearwater Sailing Center
  • The Madeira Beach Artificial Reef
  • The Osprey Trail
  • Osprey
  • Tampa BayWatch
  • Hurricane Pass Anglers Club
  • Campground at Fort De Soto Park
  • The Beach at Caladesi Island
  • Anclote Key
  • The Pinellas Trail
  • Old Salt Fishing Club
  • Treasure Island Charities
  • The Bird Islands
  • Outrigger Outreach
  • Tarpon
  • The wreck of the Sheridan
  • The Pinellas Marine Institute
  • Wakeboarding on Lake Tarpon
  • The Swamp Ape
  • Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish
  • Biking and blading along Bayshore Boulevard
  • Stone crabbing beneath the Sunshine Skyway Bridge
  • White pelicans at McKay Bay
  • Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission's Urban Pond Program
  • Surfing at Upham Beach
  • Spanish mackerel fishing off the Fort DeSoto Twin Piers
  • Wyoming Antelope Club
  • The Center for Marine Conservation Beach Cleanup
  • Sand Key Park
  • The fall kingfish run
  • Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center at Apollo Beach
  • Sheepshead fishing off The Pier
  • Fly fishing off Homosassa
  • Davis Island Yacht Club Thursday Night Series
  • Trolling for grouper
  • The Suncoast Sierra Club
  • American Power Boat Association World Championships in St. Petersburg
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Blue Crabs
  • Riding a beach cruiser
  • The Coquina Key Skate Park
  • Sea kayaking around Honeymoon Island
  • Safe Boating Classes
  • The Strange Man Biathlon
  • Shelling
  • Walking along the beach
  • The Florida Aquarium

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