Scenic USA - Delaware
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Points of Interest
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|Photos by Ben Prepelka
Protecting 16,000 acres of tidal salt marsh on Delaware Bay, the wildlife refuge called Bombay Hook was established in 1937. It's now an important link in a chain of east coast refuges that follow the Atlantic Flyway from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
Bombay Hook owes its existence to an African American company of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The Corps built refuge causeways and dikes, cleared undergrowth and planted more than 50,000 seedling trees. Along with a 90 foot observation tower, Roosevelt's Army Corps erected a boathouse, two houses and a headquarters building.
Today the refuge is open every day of the year, playing host to 100,000 visitors. Here in this natural habitat guests may enjoy wildlife observation, photography, hiking, nature paths and boardwalks. A 12 mile auto tour route leads to 13 different stops, including nature trails, four freshwater impoundments and a bird banding area. Along the route visitors will notice wooden breeding boxes, providing nesting sites for bluebirds and wood ducks. Their coned skirts prevent area raccoons and snakes from getting into the nest. Each spring and fall season, resident birds are joined by hundreds of thousands migratory birds. Because these large numbers of migrants can strip the marsh of its vegetation, area farmers plant over 1000 acres of additional food plots.
Once called Boompies Hoeck (Little Tree Point) by Dutch settlers, Friends of Bombay Hook now provide volunteer services and assist the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the preserve. The refuge store, located at the visitor center, is also operated by the Friends. Selling field guides, nature guides and apparel, the Friends provide educational programs and financial support for the refuge and other communities in the tri-state area.
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