Remembering An Environmental Hero: Nathaniel Pryor Reed

Nathaniel Pryor Reed
Photos by Mac Stone & USFWS

The National Wildlife Refuge Association is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of one of Florida’s most iconic environmentalists, Nathaniel Pryor Reed.  His undaunting support not only for the Florida Everglades, but the National Wildlife Refuge System and all wild lands will not be forgotten. Reed’s connection to refuges started on Jupiter Island, Florida. The Joseph V. Reed Family created the Reed Wilderness Seashore Sanctuary in 1967, which later became part of the first 173-acre tract that would create Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge on September 30th of 1969.  The family donated the land in order to preserve the undeveloped area and help protect the many wildlife species that called that land home in Southeast Florida. Hobe Sound NWR contains the largest contiguous section of undeveloped beach in the area. Nathaniel later stated,

“I went up there a little while ago. I took friends in the boat up the river; and there’s nothing like it. There will be nothing like it-ever: It’s a wilderness marvel but it’ll be really a marvel in fifty years-a hundred years from now. There’s so little of that natural world left. Never did Dad make a better decision than that one.” -Nathaniel Reed

Years after his family helped established Hobe Sound with the first donation of land, Nathaniel was instrumental in working with other Hobe Sound homeowners to help acquire the remaining lands that comprise the refuge.  Nathaniel served as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and National Parks under President Nixon and played a large role in passing the Endangered Species and Clean Water Acts. He was also an ardent supporter of the Arthur R Marshall Loxahatchee NWR, speaking on behalf of the refuge in public forums and in front of the South Florida Water Management District when the District threatened to terminate a license agreement between them and the refuge.

Mr. Reed leaves a legacy of environmental stewardship and support for wild places and wildlife. Even at the age of 84, he was still actively involved in Everglades issues and protection of this unique ecosystem. He will be greatly missed.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.refugeassociation.org/2018/07/nathanielreed/

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