Nashville, TN – On November 15th, 2022 some areas of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and all of Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) will be seasonally closed to the public for the winter.
These areas will be closed through March 15th primarily to minimize disturbance to wintering waterfowl and nesting bald eagles.
However, for great views of the lake, or for waterfowl and wildlife viewing opportunities, there are still some areas of both refuges open to daylight visitation during the winter months.
On the Tennessee NWR, the Visitor Center located at 1371 Wildlife Drive in Springville is open Monday-Friday from 8:00-4:00 and entry is free. However, there are also many observation areas on the refuge in which to view and photograph wildlife.
On the Big Sandy Unit of the Tennessee NWR, the main road running through the Big Sandy Peninsula remains open. Visitors at this location have year-round access to the handicapped-accessible Bennett’s Creek observation deck. This deck is a great place to see bald eagles this time of year, as well as views of Bennett’s Creeks embayment and two managed impoundments.
Chickasaw National Recreation Trail, a 1.1 mile hiking trail is a great place to take a stroll through the woods on a sunny winter day. This hiking trail offers an easy pace as well as a little of the past history of the people that once lived on this peninsula. The tip of the peninsula, called Pace Point, is considered a very popular winter birding location offering excellent views of migratory birds such as waterfowl, loons, gulls and terns.
At the Britton Ford/Sulphur Wells area the V.L. Childs Observation Deck extends visitors an outstanding view of refuge waters and adjacent shorelines and woodlands. The observation deck is handicap accessible complete with two spotting scopes that provide excellent opportunities for viewing waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, and songbirds along with other native wildlife.
Please note, however, that the Britton Ford Hiking Trail and the Discovery Nature Trail which is located in the sanctuary closure areas will be closed until March 15th.
The Duck River Bottoms is always an exciting place to visit in the wintertime. The main road running through the bottoms area is open year-round offering many chances for the visitor to connect with nature. Just turning off the vehicle and listening to thousands of ducks resting and feeding in the surrounding area is worth the drive to this area.
This area also offers views of bald eagles, white pelicans, herons, egrets as well as many different species of hawks. The Pintail Point observation deck and photography blind is open year-round along Haul Road. The visitor at this location is greeted with a very short stroll through the woods ending with a boardwalk and deck/blind that overlooks one of the managed impoundments. Possible wildlife to view at this location would be wood peckers, puddle ducks, herons, egrets, hawks and eagles.
Starting this winter, the Duck River Remainder portion of the refuge, including the popular Tie Yards area will remain open and will not close down for sanctuary. The Morgan Creek and Nix Landing Boat Ramps will remain open, however, the low lake levels make these ramps only useable by smaller crafts.
The entire Busseltown Unit will be closed for sanctuary. Visitors to this unit will be able to observe the wildlife from the information kiosk area.
For further information on Tennessee NWR, contact the refuge office at 1371 Wildlife Drive, Springville, TN 38256 or call 731.642.2091 or see the Refuge web page at www.fws.gov/refuge/tennessee. or www.facebook.com/tennesseenwr.
For further information about Cross Creeks NWR, contact the office in Dover at 643 Wildlife Road or call 931.232.7477 or see their website at www.fws.gov/refuge/cross_creeks.
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