Are you looking for a nature escape that offers both tranquility and adventure? Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary in Merritt Island, FL is a hidden gem that’s worth exploring. This 436-acre sanctuary is filled with diverse ecosystems, making it an ideal destination for wildlife enthusiasts, birdwatchers, and outdoor adventurers alike. Here’s what you need to know about this remarkable destination.
The sanctuary, named after a Timucuan chief who once lived in the area, is situated on Merritt Island near the Indian River Lagoon. It was established in 1975 under the Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program; private donations, state and county grants were used to acquire the land. Notably, the sanctuary forms part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.
This place is notable for having multiple ecosystems within its borders; there are six distinct habitats in the sanctuary, including mangrove swamps, salt marshes, pine flatwoods, oak hammocks, coastal strands, and spoil islands. The variety of these ecosystems supports an extensive range of plant and animal species within the sanctuary.
The variety of ecosystems at the sanctuary means that it’s home to a wide range of wildlife species. Birdwatchers will be particularly delighted, as the sanctuary is home to over 140 different species of birds. Some of the most commonly seen birds include ospreys, great blue herons, white ibises, and brown pelicans. Other animals that can be spotted within the sanctuary include alligators, river otters, manatees, dolphins, and even the occasional bobcat.
The sanctuary is a great place for people who love the outdoors, as it offers many activities to enjoy. One of the most popular things to do is kayaking or canoeing through its waterways. Visitors can explore the mangrove tunnels and lagoon by launching kayaks or canoes from multiple points within the sanctuary.
Before setting out, visitors should be aware of some important safety considerations. All boats must adhere to all applicable boating laws, including wearing life jackets and other flotation devices as well as refraining from disrupting wildlife.
Fishing is also permitted within the sanctuary, with species such as redfish, snook, and trout commonly caught.
Fishing in this place can be a great way to experience the beauty and diversity of this untouched natural habitat. Visitors should be aware that fishing within the sanctuary is regulated, and fishermen must adhere to all state and local laws regarding size limits, bag limits, and other regulations. While motorized boats are not allowed in the sanctuary, fishermen may anchor their boats in designated areas.
The sanctuary also offers several hiking trails, ranging from easy to moderate difficulty levels, which allow visitors to explore the different ecosystems. More info
When exploring the sanctuary, hikers should be sure to know and observe all applicable safety regulations. Hikers should wear sturdy shoes with good grip and traction, as well as long sleeves and pants to protect themselves from sun, insects, and brush. It’s also important to stay on designated trails at all times in order to avoid disrupting the wildlife.
The sanctuary is not only a beautiful destination for visitors, but it’s also an important conservation area. It is managed by the Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, which is dedicated to preserving natural areas in the county. The program works to restore degraded areas within the sanctuary, prevent the spread of invasive species, and protect the sanctuary’s diverse plant and animal species. Visitors are encouraged to respect the sanctuary’s rules and regulations and help preserve this natural treasure for future generations.
If you’re planning a visit to this place, there are a few things to keep in mind. The sanctuary is open every day from sunrise to sunset and admission is free. However, visitors are encouraged to make a donation to support the sanctuary’s conservation efforts. The sanctuary does have some limited amenities, including restrooms and picnic tables. Visitors should also be aware that the sanctuary is home to wildlife and should be respectful of their surroundings. Finally, visitors are reminded to abide by all rules and regulations, including those related to fishing and kayaking.
The best time to visit this place is during the dry season (October through April). This is when the birds are most active, and it’s also the best time to observe other wildlife. The sanctuary is open year-round, but the wet season (May through October) can be quite humid and rainy.
Overall, the Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary is a hidden gem in Merritt Island, FL, that offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore diverse ecosystems and encounter a wide range of wildlife. Whether you’re looking for a tranquil escape or an outdoor adventure, this sanctuary has something to offer. With its remarkable history, conservation efforts, and variety of activities, it’s a destination that’s worth exploring. Check out this post