The sanctuary protects the last forty acres of old-growth native Sabal Palm trees that historically extended eighty miles inland along the banks of the lower Rio Grande. Managed by the Audubon society, the site also provides habitat for native animal species. The palms were almost rendered extinct because of their use as building material for the construction of jacales in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A remarkable site along the entire Rio Grande, the sanctuary was acquired by the Gorgas Foundation in 2010.
Near its entrance, and part of the sanctuary, the Rabb-Stark House (c. 1892) is a turreted, double-galleried Queen Anne mansion built for the granddaughter of Miflin Kenedy.