New Looks for the Refuge’s Fiftieth Birthday

John Heinz. Front page JPG

While winter is a time of hibernation and rest for most animals, we humans sometimes choose to spend the cold months busy at work! For John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, this winter allowed time to complete some exciting new projects just in time to celebrate our 50th anniversary this summer. The largest, taking nearly 5 months to complete, is the all-new fishing pier along the Dike Road. For many visitors, the Refuge is their favorite fishing spot. This new pier puts the angler right over the water for great fishing access and a breathtaking view of emergent wetland. A variety of fish species call these waters home, from the invasive snakehead to native bass and catfish. All are welcome to catch-and-release fish at the Refuge with a Pennsylvania fishing license. Kids 15 years old and under may fish license-free! Keep an eye on our summer event calendar for license-free fishing days and family fishing tournaments with rods and bait provided and save the date for our 50th Anniversary Celebration: June 30th!

If you have driven by the Refuge in the last few weeks, you may have noticed our all-new entrance sign! This custom, mixed metal sign on Lindbergh Boulevard features layered 3D images of people, plants, and wildlife. Inside the Refuge, new trail signs lead visitors from the Eastwick Community Trail to scenic views along our 10 miles of trails.

As always, all are welcome to visit the Refuge at no cost to enjoy a relaxing walk, watch wildlife, enjoy a guided program, or go for a paddle on Darby Creek. This summer and fall, LL Bean will offer kayak trips from May to October. Members of a Southwest community organization may contact the Refuge for free kayak tours. Our high school conservation crews are also hiring for paid summer work for young people. If you are interested in applying for the high school youth crew or booking a paddle for your organization, please email

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