Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131
May 31, 2010
Who Goes There? Is it a Bear? Find Out This Summer at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
While traveling on US Highway 64 through East Lake, have you ever wondered what critters may be out in the wild all around you? You may have seen a Black Bear as it crossed the highway in the distance, but have you ever wondered what a black bear was like up close? Can you tell what animals have walked on a trail before you walked on it? Beginning the first week in June, you will be able to find the answers to these and many more questions during the free programs at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
On Wednesdays from 4:00 to 5:00 PM, take an investigative trek on Creef Cut Trail just off US Highway 64 at Milltail Road. Discover how biologists are using DNA to track the various critters using the Highway 64 corridor and local trails. From 6:00 to 7:30 PM, find out what a Black Bear’s pelt really feels like and how the bear stays warm and dry. Learn about why the refuge makes the ideal home for Black Bear. After a short overview, join the program leaders for a trip around the Wildlife Drive in search of Black Bear and other critters who are active in the evenings. Come back out to the refuge on Thursday from 1:30 to 3:30 PM to climb aboard the refuge tram trailer for a guided tour of the refuge. Learn about the management techniques, tips on wildlife watching, and what it takes to be the perfect home for wildlife. Sit back and relax while watching for wildlife in the open-air trailer. No reservations are needed for any of the free programs described above.
If you are looking for a adventure, consider exploring the refuge by water. Sign up for one of the refuge guided canoe tours. After setting off at the boat launch, you’ll be taken back in time while learning about Buffalo City logging and moonshining and times before the refuge was established. You'll see gigantic cypress and Atlantic White Cedar trees, learn why the water looks like iced tea, and, if you're lucky, you may catch a glimpse of an alligator before it sinks to avoid you. The plant variety assures you an ever-changing view as you are led onto Milltail Creek. Black water surrounds you as you travel onto the man-made canals that were used during the logging days of the town. Overhead various birds may be heard and sometimes seen. Tours are given on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:00 to noon. The cost is $35 per adult and $20 per child 11 and younger. For canoe tour reservations or general program information, call Cindy Heffley at 252-475-4180 or visit our website at www.fws.gov/alligatorriver.
Red Wolf howling safaris are also offered on Wednesdays from 7:30-9:00 pm. The tours are co-sponsored by the Red Wolf Coalition, require pre-registration, and cost $7 per person. Call 252-796-5600 for more information or to register for a howling safari.
A Black Bear enters Sawyer Lake Road on its way to one of the many crop fields on the refuge. Photo Credit: Cindy Heffley, USFWS.
Raccoon tracks are one of the many signs you may see on Who Goes There? at Creef Cut Trail. Photo Credit: Cindy Heffley, USFWS.
Canoe tour participants stop to learn about a Bald Cypress tree on Milltail Creek. Photo Credit: Cindy Heffley, USFWS.