Katie Linsky Shaw

Photojournalist
   
Dry Tortugas National Park - Key West, Florida
Location: Asheville, North Carolina
Biography: Katie Linsky Shaw has worked as a photographer since college. Following graduation, she worked full-time as a reporter and photographer for newspapers and freelanced for a large, daily newspaper in Memphis, TN. After a move to Arkansas, Katie... MORE
Public Story
Dry Tortugas National Park - Key West, Florida
Copyright Katie Linsky Shaw 2023
Updated Oct 2022
Topics Environment, Feature, Travel
Summary
Dry Tortugas National Park, 70 miles west of Key West, took a direct hit from Hurricane Ian and endured significant damage. The park recently reopened parts of the island to visitors. The park includes seven islands and Fort Jefferson, the largest brick masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere.
The most isolated islands of the Florida Keys can be reached with a two-hour ferry ride from Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park. The park, about 70 miles southwest of Key West, is made up of seven islands and preserves Fort Jefferson, an unfinished coastal fortress and largest brick masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere. Dry Tortugas most recently took a direct hit from Hurricane Ian. The island did endure significant damage but has recently reopened parts of the park to visitors.

Visitors can travel to Dry Tortugas on the Yankee Freedom catamaran or by seaplane. Reservations are required. The ferry ride includes breakfast and a box lunch with other snacks available for purchase. Once on the island, tourists can use snorkeling equipment to explore the shallow waters considered some of the best snorkeling spots in North America.

Camping is available on the island with only 10 campers allowed per day. Considered "primitive camping," campers must bring everything including their own drinking water. Camping reservations fill up fast and are often booked 9 to 12 months out.

Visitors can walk around, through, and on top of Fort Jefferson which was designated a national monument by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935. Construction on the fort started in 1847 with half the work completed by 1860. Originally built as a fortress during the Civil War, the fort later became a prison until it was abandoned in 1874. One of the more famous prisoners was Dr. Samuel Mudd who treated John Wilkes Booth during Lincoln's assassination.


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