The Refuge reminded me alot of Seney Wildlife Refuge in the Upper peninsula. Controlled flooding areas, Farm fields and so much quality habitat for so many different species.
Wading Birds and aquatic birds are the main focus here, but there is much, much more. Nesting Eagle and Osprey. Deer, Fox, Muskrats, Woodchucks and many, many different kinds of Snakes.
We seen literally field full of Great Egrets. Hundreds of them together. There where also many Great Blue Herons mixed amongst the Egrets, all feeding in the many shallow ponds and field floodings. Trees full of White Egrets. Again…..hundreds of them.
At times it was a sensory overload. There was just so much to see, experience and hear. We only covered the 6.5 mile Scenic Car drive road, along the southern section of the Refuge. Our next trip will include some of the well marked hiking trails that come off of these Scenic, One-way drives.
The Refuge is an enormous place. It would take many trips to the Park to even start to see some of it’s many and vast habitats.
Check out the official National Parks web site on the Refuge at: SHIAWASSEE WILDLIFE REFUGE
The Refuge has an excellent Visitors Center in the southern section of the Park. Very good Maps available there, and the Ranger is very well versed in what is happening in and around the refuge. No matter what your destination is at the Refuge, it is worth the stop at this Visitors Center for all the Info and knowledge you can collect before you head into such a vast area.
Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1953 and contains more than 9,600 acres of marsh, bottom-land hardwood forest, and grasslands. It was authorized by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission under the Migratory Bird Conservation Act “…for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds.” Additional purposes designated under the Refuge Recreation Act are “…incidental fish and wildlife-oriented recreational development, the protection of natural resources, and the conservation of endangered and threatened species.”
The refuge’s mission is to preserve and manage an undeveloped expanse of floodplain forest, marshes, rivers, and associated habitat within an agricultural and urban landscape through habitat management, encouraging public stewardship, educational programs, and private land activities .