National Wildlife Refuge
|1505 Sand Bluff Road
Ripley, TN 38063
Phone Number: 731-635-7621
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
|The refuge is located in an area without a mainline levee on the Mississippi River creating a unique area subject to "natural" flooding regimes of the river.|
Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge
Established August 5, 1985, Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge lies in the Lower Mississippi River floodplain along the Chickasaw Bluff in western Tennessee. Chickasaw NWR currently encompasses 25,006 acres and includes the largest block of bottomland hardwood forest in Tennessee. Chickasaw NWR and adjacent lands are known to be important wintering and stop-over areas for a large portion of the Mississippi Flyway mallard population. Under optimum conditions, peak waterfowl numbers may exceed 250,000 including black ducks, gadwall, pintail, teal, wigeon, wood duck, ring-necked duck, and hooded merganser.
Getting There . . .
From Ripley and Highway 51, proceed approximately 6 miles north on Edith-Central Road (becomes Edith-Nankipoo after passing through 4-way stop at Edith). Turn left on Hobe Webb road and proceed approximately 1.5 miles to first road on the right. Turn right on Sand Bluff Road and proceed to the bottom of bluff. Refuge headquarters will be on the left.
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The area became part of the state of Tennessee in 1796 and Lauderdale County was formed in 1835 with the county seat located in Ripley just 6 miles from the current refuge headquarters. Population growth was rapid in northwest Tennessee in the 1820s and 1830s, however there is no evidence of settlement in the immediate area of the refuge at any time during the 19th century. This is likely due to the low, wet, swampy habitat of the bottomlands. Small farms were the rule in this area and early agriculture favored cotton, although corn soon became the primary crop. The area was logged but extensive clearing did not occur until after World War II. This pattern continued into the 20th century until soybeans became the primary crop in the 1970s.
Prior to acquisition, the lands that now make up Chickasaw NWR were owned by the Anderson-Tully Company of Memphis, Tennessee. The company managed a total of 18,000 acres at this site for timber production. In 1956, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency leased this land and managed it as the Upper Anderson-Tully Wildlife Management Area. Eight miles of the western boundary abut the Mississippi River along the only stretch without a mainline levee in the Lower Mississippi River Valley. As a result, the refuge is subject to the natural process of backwater flooding by the river.