Information on:

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum

8601 Lindbergh Boulevard


The history of Tinicum Marsh, the largest remaining freshwater tidal wetland Pennsylvania goes back to the first settlements in the region in 1634.  Swedes, Dutch and English diked and drained parts of the marsh for grazing.  At that time, the tidal marshes measured over 5,700 acres. The rapid urbanization since World War I, reduced tidal marshes to approximately 200 acres. The remnant of this once vast tidal marsh is protected by the refuge.

A diked, non-tidal area of 145 acres, adjacent to the eastern end of Tinicum Marsh, was donated by the Gulf Oil Corporation to the City of Philadelphia in 1955. This area, administered for the benefit of wildlife and people, was known as Tinicum Wildlife Preserve.  The areas of open water along with the adjacent heavily vegetated tidal wetlands, formed an ideal habitat for thousands of migratory waterfowl.

In 1969, the remaining area was threatened by plans to route Interstate 95 through it and by a sanitary landfill on the tidal wetlands.  These activities started a long series of injunctions, public hearings and extraordinary efforts by private and public groups to secure rerouting of the highway and termination of the landfill operation. Under legislation passed by Congress in 1972, authorization was given to the Secretary of the Interior to acquire 1200 acres to establish the Tinicum National Environmental Center.

In November 1991, in a bill sponsored by Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA), the name of the refuge was changed to John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum to honor the late Senator who helped preserve Tinicum Marsh.


Sara Phillips

Monday, July 9, 2018
Enjoyed a great easy hike around the lake and saw many wild animals including a beaver, rabbit and turtle along with many birds. The trail was level and there were occasional benches to stop and enjoy the view. Trail was several miles and took two hour going at a kindergartner's pace. Parking was plentiful. Didn't get to see the nature center but I hope to go back and see it the next time.

Kara DiFerdinando

Friday, June 29, 2018
This place is nice to come and walk. Great if you want to exercise but don't want to walk around a traditional track. Sometimes me and my boyfriend even bring my dog and have a picnic. Would recommend for anyone who likes the outdoors!

Rachel Dukeman

Sunday, June 17, 2018
Love love love this park. Beautiful greenery, maintained paths, wildlife at every turn. Eagles, Beaver, warblers, osprey, harrier... We even saw a peregrine falcon. Great nature center. Friendly visitors (everyone says hi), knowledgeable rangers, great programs. A must visit for residents and visitors to Philadelphia.

Jean Schneider

Saturday, June 16, 2018
Wide vistas over the water in the winter and lush wetland in the summer with a 4 mile loop trail. Migrating birds, turtles, and fish are all around. The trail is broad and gravel paved on one side and narrower with more encroaching plants (and croaking frogs!) on the other side. Several well maintained structures provide great viewing.

Theresa Crowley

Saturday, June 30, 2018
Loved the Bill Nye the science guy videos! & the migration of birds lighted map. Interesting. Place was clean. Various birds occupy the beautiful wooded habitat. Fishing was plentiful. But don't eat the fish! They are not healthy because of the Delaware river water.

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media