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Location: At John Heinz NWR on Darby Creek near Philadelphia Int’l Airport.
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John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is America's First Urban Refuge and was established in 1972 for the purpose of preserving, restoring, and developing the natural area known as Tinicum Marsh, to promote environmental education, and to afford visitors an opportunity to study wildlife in its natural habitat.
The refuge is a green respite nestled within the urban setting of the city of Philadelphia. Refuge lands are a thriving sanctuary teeming with a rich diversity of fish, wildlife, and plants native to the Delaware Estuary. Healthy and productive expanses of freshwater tidal marsh, open waters, mudflats, and woodlands support the hundreds of species that breed, rear their young, rest during migration, or call the refuge home year-round.
Primary Surface: Not Available
Secondary Surface: None
Elevation Low Point: Not Available
Elevation High Point: Not Available
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available
Year Designated: 1982
Supporting Webpages and DocumentsBrochure: John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum
Map: USFWS Refuge
For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Scott Plaza 2
Philadelphia, PA 19113
East Impoundment Trail at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge - 12-1-2017
East Impoundment Trail is a flat 3 mile loop around a lake (the impoundment) at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.
So the bad news first. The Heinz NWR is in an urban setting. It is bordered to the south by a major interstate and is close to Philadelphia International Airport. If the sounds of planes, trains, and automobiles bothers you, then this may not be your hike. Personally, I did not find the noise too bad, especially on the western side of the impoundment. But I was always aware that I was near a major city. Also, don't expect solitude. Lots of people live near this trail.
Now the good news. The trail is well maintained and includes signs telling you about trees and wildlife along the way. It is a pleasant hike with some surprisingly good lake views. Given the urban setting, I was half expecting lots of trash, but I saw almost none. And if you like waterfowl, you will likely see lots. I saw 2 bald eagles, several herons and egrets and tons of ducks, geese, and seagulls.
If the 3 mile East Impoundment Trail is not enough for you, there are another 7 miles of trails on the Heinz NWR accessible from the southern end of the East Impoundment Trail.
Bottom line for me... I think it is admirable that land near to a major city was set aside for wildlife viewing and hiking. I'm willing to accept the inevitable noise associated with that city. I found East Impoundment Lake (and the other 7 miles of trails on the refuge) to be a worthwhile hike. It is worth a visit.
December 3, 2017
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