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Mule Keys facts for kids

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The location of Barracouta Keys and Marquesas Keys in the Key West National Wildlife Refuge.

The Mule Keys, are a group of scattered islets in the Florida Keys in Monroe County, Florida, United States. They are between 3 and 12 mi (4.8 and 19.3 km) west of Key West, separated from it by the Northwest Channel. On the west, they are separated from the Marquesas Keys by the 6-mile (9.7 km) wide Boca Grande Channel. They belong to the outlying islands of the Florida Keys. Administratively, they are an unincorporated area of Monroe County. The islets are part of the Key West National Wildlife Refuge. The area of the islets totals 1.07 sq mi (2.8 km2), of which 1.02 sq mi (2.6 km2) are land area and 0.05 sq mi (0.13 km2) inland water bodies (on three of the keys). The islets are uninhabited except for Mule Key, for which the census of 2000 lists one housing unit with a population of two (park rangers or coast guard).

The United States Government has placed most of this area off limits, as a part of the Key West National Wildlife Refuge. It is even prohibited to anchor off Man Key and Woman Key in the sand, although Woman Key was a popular destination for day trippers from Key West in the past, which Boca Grande Key still is. Anchoring off the south part of Boca Grande Key is also prohibited; it is permitted only off the northwest portion.

Ballast Key is privately owned and offered on the real estate market for US$13,800,000, as of July 2011.

The easternmost islet, Mule Key, is 2.7 mi (4.3 km) west of Sunset Key which is part of Key West city. The westernmost (and largest) islet, Boca Grande Key, is 6 miles (10 km) east of the Marquesas Keys.

12 individual islets are named on detailed topographical maps:

Mule Keys-Image.png
Islet Land
Coordinates Comment
3031 Mule Key 52169 - 52169 24°33′43.2″N 81°51′42.4″W / 24.562000°N 81.861778°W / 24.562000; -81.861778 (Mule Key) easternmost
3032 Archer Key 247136 - 247136 24°33′43.2″N 81°53′23.3″W / 24.562000°N 81.889806°W / 24.562000; -81.889806 (Archer Key) actually two separate islets
3033 Crawfish Key 17125 - 17125 24°32′19.4″N 81°53′01.6″W / 24.538722°N 81.883778°W / 24.538722; -81.883778 (Crawfish Key)  
3034 Barracouta Key2) 482627 57221 539848 24°32′38.5″N 81°55′17.5″W / 24.544028°N 81.921528°W / 24.544028; -81.921528 (Barracouta Key) including tiny islet 430 m south
Joe Ingram Key2) - 24°32′43.9″N 81°54′45.4″W / 24.545528°N 81.912611°W / 24.545528; -81.912611 (Joe Ingram Key) smallest
3035 Man Key 358808 - 358808 24°31′40.3″N 81°55′38.5″W / 24.527861°N 81.927361°W / 24.527861; -81.927361 (Man Key) actually three separate islets
3036 Ballast Key 46801 4741 51542 24°31′23.0″N 81°57′51.1″W / 24.523056°N 81.964194°W / 24.523056; -81.964194 (Ballast Key) southernmost
3037 Woman Key 317669 - 317669 24°31′27.6″N 81°58′25.4″W / 24.524333°N 81.973722°W / 24.524333; -81.973722 (Woman Key)  
3038 Boca Grande Key 741228 80416 821644 24°32′04.4″N 82°00′18.3″W / 24.534556°N 82.005083°W / 24.534556; -82.005083 (Boca Grande Key) largest, westernmost
3039 Little Mullet Key 58625 - 58625 24°34′53.8″N 81°57′01.9″W / 24.581611°N 81.950528°W / 24.581611; -81.950528 (Little Mullet Key)  
3040 Big Mullet Key 87211 - 87211 24°34′44.5″N 81°55′08.0″W / 24.579028°N 81.918889°W / 24.579028; -81.918889 (Big Mullet Key)  
3041 Cottrell Key 215943 - 215943 24°36′12.9″N 81°55′17.7″W / 24.603583°N 81.921583°W / 24.603583; -81.921583 (Cottrell Key) northernmost
  Mule Keys 2625342 142378 2767720    
1) of Block Group 3, Census tract 9725, Monroe County, Florida [1]

2) Because Barracouta Key and Joe Ingram Key together form one census block,
   no exact separate area figures are available. Joe Ingram Key is estimated at 10,000 m2.

On nautical maps, the Mule Keys appear like an atoll of 11 mi (18 km) length east–west, and 6 mi (9.7 km) width north–south (covering a sea area of roughly 58 sq mi (150 km2), with Mule Key, Crawfish Key, Man Key, Ballast Key, Woman Key and Boca Grande Key along the southern rim (from east to west), and Cottrell Key in the north.

7 mi (11 km) south of Mule Key, separated from the Mule Keys by West Channel, are three notable submerged reefs, from east to west:

  1. Eastern Dry Rocks, at 24°27′42.6″N 81°50′38.1″W / 24.461833°N 81.843917°W / 24.461833; -81.843917 (Eastern Dry Rocks)
  2. Rock Key, at 24°27′21.3″N 81°51′26.3″W / 24.455917°N 81.857306°W / 24.455917; -81.857306 (Rock Key)
  3. Sand Key, at 24°27′18.3″N 81°52′37.5″W / 24.455083°N 81.877083°W / 24.455083; -81.877083 (Sand Key)
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