Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131
May 24, 2010
Sit Back and Enjoy the Ride: Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge Offers Weekly Guided Tram Tours
Many locals and visitors travel US Highway 64 through East Lake and Manns Harbor and never realize they are surrounded by all sorts of creatures! For many years, mysterious tales of wild animals and black swamps have caused a lot of people to avoid turning off Highway 64 and onto Milltail Road. If you’ve always wondered what lies behind those blue goose signs but were afraid to venture off the highway, now is a great time to find out what you’ve been missing. Although the refuge Wildlife Drive starting on Milltail Road is open to the public during daylight hours, beginning Thursday, June 3, a weekly guided tram trailer tour is being conducted from 1:30 to 3:30 to give visitors a special look at what’s going on at the refuge. With scheduled stops along the way, riders will learn special tips about observing wildlife, visit the places critters are known to "hang out", and hear about the complex management activities used on this refuge to make it the perfect place for wildlife! Even if you have driven on the Wildlife Drive, you may not know about the extensive fire management or farming programs going on. One of the most asked questions is why the water levels are different throughout the year or why the canal on one side of the road is so much deeper than on the other side. Climb aboard the tram and learn the answers!
Of course, the tour will take advantage of random opportunities to see wildlife that show up, and we often stop to show the group one particular plant species or another. Each trip brings lots of sightings ranging from butterflies to black bear and a wide variety of turtles and snakes. If you're lucky, you may even see one of our bobcats! On a recent Saturday tour, White and Glossy Ibis were "probing" in a field - searching for worms, bugs, and larvae of all sorts. We set up a spotting scope and invited riders to stretch their legs and get a close-up view of the beautiful birds. Even folks driving their own vehicles on the Wildlife Drive stopped to get a glimpse of the Ibis and chat with tram riders riders.
No registration is required, and the tour is free. Meet at Creef Cut Trail parking lot just off Highway 64 at Milltail Road. The tram is universally accessible and appropriate for the young and young at heart. It is a covered, open-air trailer, so be prepared for the outdoors!. Please feel free to bring a cushion to sit on and drinking water, or a light blanket, if the weather is cool. To learn more about the tram tour or if you have any questions, call Cindy Heffley at 252-475-4180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tram riders are joined by Wildlife Drive travelers who stop to look at White Ibis on a recent Saturday tram tour. Photo Credit: Cindy Heffley, USFWS.
There is plenty of room for you and your friends, so climb aboard and find out what’s going on at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge! Photo Credit: Bonnie Strawser, USFWS.