Ritidian Point offers refuge for critters and fun

Ritidian Point offers refuge for critters and fun

by Aaron Miller
Stripes Guam

Did you know that Guam has bats? Some are huge! If you’re lucky you just might catch sight of such endangered species at Ritidian Point – but you’re certain to spy some ideal spots for hiking, fishing and more.

In fact, several native species of birds and animals on the verge of extinction have a safe haven on the approximately 22,500-acre Guam National Wildlife Refuge thanks to a joint effort by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, and local military.

Ritidian Point is one of many parts of the refuge that is jointly managed on Naval or Air Force land. You can watch sea turtles lay their eggs and find bats hiding in trees as well as engage in some favorite pastimes for humans.

Heading north on Marine Corps drive past Anderson Air Force Base, find the turn off for Ritidian. Head north on Spur road. The road winds down the limestone cliff to the turquoise waters below where sugar-like sand and natural beauty await.

The refuge is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and offers more than animal education. There is a small building housing the U.S. Fish and Game office as well as a nature center. Hiking, fishing, picnicking and beach combing give visitors plenty of options.

Boonie stomping is a popular trekking activity and a short walk will land adventurers in a practically uninhabited stretch of jungle and beach. Ritidian Point also boasts one of the first Chamorro settlements dating back more than 600 years, including ancient caves with pictographs inside.

There are some cautions for those wanting a taste of nature. The beach directly out from the visitor center is a no-swimming, no-fishing area. However, a short hike south or drive down a dirt road will bring visitors to some calmer waters. Parking spaces are carved out of the surrounding jungle.

Weekends can be a bit crowded with about 1,000 visitors a day. Most of the time there is plenty of beach and jungle to go around. There are some regulations on what can be collected and what can’t as well as restrictions on fishing. Check with the nature center for questions. Also visit <http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/wnwr/guamnwrindex.html>.

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