Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge opens March 5 – Chillicothe News Constitution-Tribune

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BY STEVE WHITSON

The doors of Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge will reopen to the public on Saturday, March 5 at 6 a.m. The sanctuary is closed each year from the end of October to the first Saturday in March to allow undisturbed habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl. Once spring arrives, the place becomes a haven for humans and wildlife. Whether it’s fishing, bird watching, relaxing driving, or hiking in the woods, Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge has a place for everyone. There are an abundance of outdoor public use opportunities at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The 2,000 acre Silver Lake is open for fishing and the Auto Tour Route allows for a relaxing ride. There are also plenty of hiking opportunities, as the entire refuge is open to foot traffic during this time. Also, there is a nature trail near the old visitor center with a nice view and stretches near the Swan Lake marsh. The refuge is open to wood shed hunting, mushroom and berry picking for personal use.

At this time there are great opportunities for wildlife viewing as there are hundreds and sometimes even a few thousand trumpeter swans on the refuge and the number of snow geese can reach hundreds of thousands at this time of year. the year. March and early April are good times to see many different species of waterfowl migrating north for the summer. An early morning or late evening walk through the refuge is a good time to see white-tailed deer. Mid-April through May provides excellent viewing opportunities on the habitat mudflats for the many species of shorebirds that stop at Swan Lake NWR on migration routes. Due to Covid restrictions the Visitor Center is closed with only the main office open and limited capacity.

Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located one mile south of Sumner, Missouri and managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is the primary federal agency responsible for the conservation, protection, and enhancement of fish, wildlife, and plant life and their habitats for the continued benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 97 million acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which includes 548 National Wildlife Refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 81 ecological service field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitats such as wetlands and assists foreign and Native American tribal governments in their conservation efforts. He also oversees the Federal Aid Program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting gear to state fish and wildlife agencies.

Steve Whitson is the Refuge Manager for Swan Lake NWR.

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