National Wildlife Refuge System

New Wildlife Drive in CO, New Trail in TX

Bison
A new wildlife drive at Rocky Mt. Arsenal Refuge, CO, passes a bison enclosure as well as wetlands, lakes, prairies and wooded areas.
Credit: Stephanie Raine
Volunteers
With a lot of grit and hand tools, volunteers at Trinity River Refuge, TX, established a new primitive trail linking the refuge to a park in the city of Liberty.
Credit: USFWS

New Trail Links City and Refuge

Volunteers from General Electric and Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, TX, have established a new primitive hiking trail that links the refuge with Liberty Municipal Park, within the city limits. Visitors can walk paved trails in the park to access the primitive trail, which still includes downed trees and cypress roots. The half-mile trail stops at a bayou where a small boardwalk will eventually be built. Thirty-five volunteers used handsaws, shears and an ax to hack through branches, cypress knees and weeds. 

“We are trying to make this a community effort,” says refuge manager Stuart Marcus. The refuge worked with the City of Liberty, General Electric, the Friends of Trinity River Refuge and a private landowner who owns a cow pasture along the trail.

Trinity River Refuge was established in 1994 to protect a portion of the bottomland hardwood forest ecosystem along the Trinity River in southeastern Texas. The refuge includes numerous sloughs, oxbow lakes, artesian wells and tributaries. The refuge has about 15 miles of primitive trails in addition to the new one created during National Wildlife Refuge Week – be prepared to get your shoes muddy!

New Wildlife Drive on Superfund Site

A nine-mile Wildlife Drive has opened in Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO, on a site where the U.S. Army made mustard gas during World War II.  Restoration of the former Superfund clean-up site was completed in 2010. Native grasses and flowers were planted after military buildings and contaminated soil were removed.  The refuge has more than 330 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. In 2007, a herd of bison was added to the refuge.

The new wildlife drive parallels the bison enclosure; when additional fencing is added – possibly by January - the drive will wind right through the bison pasture. The drive also provides views of waterfowl gathering on a lake that is closed to the public, as well as wetlands, prairie and wooded areas.

Refuge park ranger Susan Drobniak says the auto route makes new areas of the refuge accessible and provides parking near trailheads.  The refuge is lending free explorer backpacks to families hiking the trails.  Photographers and birders will now be able to access the drive through the refuge as early as 6:00 a.m., rather than joining a tour later in the morning. Guided “wild rides” are still provided from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays.  Click here (pdf)  for other activities on the refuge.

Since the new wildlife drive opened during National Wildlife Refuge Week, Drobniak says it has been “unbelievably popular. We get a lot of people passing time between flights from Denver International Airport. They are dropping off a rental car and come here first or they even take a taxi through the refuge. The drive is a great fit for people who don’t have much time.”

New Trails on Desert Refuge

Desert National Wildlife Refuge has gone loopy! Three new hiking loops and a new trail offer stunning desert vistas and wildlife viewing. Most are wheelchair accessible and all are rated easy or moderate. At 1.6 million acres, Desert Refuge is the largest refuge in the Lower 48 states, 23 miles from Las Vegas.

 

Find trails on national wildlife refuges near you here.

Last updated: October 30, 2012