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Visitor Activities

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  • Hunting

    Hunting opportunities

    Hunting and fishing opportunities are abundant within the refuge. The area includes a diversity of habitats from floodplain and upland forests, to deep water swamps and shallow wetlands, to agriculture and early successional fields. These areas support waterfowl, deer, turkey, squirrels, rabbits and other game species. Refuge hunting seasons generally follow state regulations; however, it is important to note a Refuge permit is required and needs to be signed and on the person while hunting on refuge property. This permit is free and located on the Refuge Hunting and Fishing brochure. For more information, contact the Refuge office.

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  • Fishing


    Refuge ponds and the Cache River provide opportunities to fish along the bank or in a small boat on the river. Associated wetlands and backwater sloughs also offer high quality areas to catch crappie, bass, bluegill and other fish throughout the year. Four boat ramps within refuge boundary provide opportunities to access and explore the Cache River. To find out more about locations, contact the Refuge. 

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  • Wildlife Viewing

    Wildlife Viewing

    If you enjoy getting outdoors and looking for wildlife, consider a visit to the refuge. Making up only 1.5% of the land area in Illinois, the Cypress Creek / Cache River basin harbors 11.5% of the State's high quality floodplain forests and 91% of the State's high quality swamp / wetland communities which provides habitat for a rich assortment of plants and animals. With such diversity, the refuge provides many opportunities to watch wildlife on land and water.

  • Interpretation


    National Wildlife Refuges across the country provide opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to the natural world. Self-guided hikes and staff-led programs help visitors learn more about the wildlife and habitats behind the landscapes. Cypress Creek Refuge provides a calendar of events that highlights a variety of opportunities throughout the year. Programs and events are free, geared for youth and adults and provide a range of opportunities that maximize first-hand experiences along the river and trails in the Cypress Creek/Cache River Wetlands. Contact the refuge for more information about upcoming programs and the calendar of events.

  • Environmental Education

    Environmental Education

    National Wildlife Refuges serve many purposes and one of our most important roles is as outdoor classrooms to teach about the natural environment. The refuge's education program focuses on increasing understanding of the ecological significance of the area and developing a life-long appreciation of wetlands and associated biological diversity. Opportunities include school field outings, wetland educational trunks, guided canoe tours and classroom presentations. All activities are free and include an indoor or outdoor option to avoid poor weather. Contact the refuge to schedule a program.

  • Photography


    Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography. That’s not surprising – the digital camera population explosion and cell phones with ever-improving picture-taking abilities are increasing the number of nature photographers at a rapid rate.  You don’t need to purchase expensive equipment or have any experience to get started.  A small camera or basic cell phone will do just fine for most visitors.

    Nearly 12 million people visit outdoor areas each year to photograph wildlife, and national wildlife refuges naturally are at the top of the list. Refuges provide enhanced opportunities to photograph wildlife in natural habitats by providing platforms, brochures, interpreters, viewing areas and tour routes.  Wildlife photography is a high-priority activity in the Refuge System. We welcome beginning and expert photographers alike to record their outdoor adventures on film, memory card or internal hard drive! 

Last Updated: Apr 11, 2014
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