Padre Island National Seashore

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Padre Island National Seashore (PAIS) is a National Seashore located on Padre Island off the coast of South Texas. In contrast to South Padre Island (well known for its beaches and vacationing college students), PINS is located on North Padre Island and consists of a long beach where nature is preserved. Primitive camping is available there and most of the beach is only accessible to four wheel drive vehicles.

North Padre Island is the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world. The National Seashore is 70 miles (110 km) long with 65.5 miles (105.4 km) of Gulf beach. The Park hosts a variety of pristine beach, dune, and tidal flat environments,[1] including the Laguna Madre on its west coast, a famous spot for windsurfing. It is located in parts of Kleberg, Kenedy, and Willacy counties, with Kenedy County having the majority of its land area.

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The acronym PAIS is the standard National Park Service acronym using either the first four letters of the park's name, or the first two letters of the first and second word in the name. The most commonly used acronym outside of the National Park Service usage is to use the first letter of each word, as in PINS.

Kemp's Ridley sea turtles

A program to re-establish a nesting beach for Kemp's Ridley sea turtles on Padre Island was begun in 1978. In 1992, the first two turtles from the program returned to Padre Island beach to lay their eggs. The number of Kemp's Ridley sea turtle nests on Padre Island has increased ever since with 28 being found in 2005. Park rangers at PINS are involved in an effort to help this endangered species. In the summer, visitors can witness the release of newborn turtles.

On September 2007, Corpus Christi, Texas wildlife officials found a record of 128 Kemp's ridley sea turtle nests on Texas beaches, including 81 on North Padre Island (Padre Island National Seashore) and 4 on Mustang Island. Wildlife officials released 10,594 Kemp's ridleys hatchlings along the Texas coast this year. The turtles are endangered due to shrimpers' nets and they are popular in Mexico as boot material and food.[2]

Birdwatching

Due to the location of Padre Island National Seashore on the Central Flyway, a major migratory route for birds, about 380 species of birds have been documented within the park, which represents approximately 45% of all bird species documented within North America. The park was designated as a "Globally Important Bird Area" by the American Bird Conservancy in 1998 for providing an "important habitat for globally significant numbers of Brown Pelicans, Redheads (5% of the world's population), Least Terns (8% of the North American population), Piping Plovers (10% of the world's population), Reddish Egrets (7% of the biogeographic population) and Peregrine Falcons (7% of the North American population).[3]

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