Welcome to Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge
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Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge is located on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula in Hyde County, North Carolina. Established in 1934, the 50,180-acre Refuge consists of open water, marsh, forest and croplands. The centerpiece of the Refuge is the shallow Lake Mattamuskeet. At 40,100 acres, it is North Carolina’s largest natural lake.
The Refuge’s strategic location along the Atlantic Flyway makes it a vitally important stopover for wintering waterfowl. Over the past 35 years, up to 80 percent of the Northern Pintail and up to 30 percent of Green-wing Teal that annually migrate along the Flyway utilize Mattamuskeet. In total, the Refuge attracts more than 200,000 ducks, geese and swans from November through February.
About 58,000 visitors use the Refuge annually to hunt, fish, and observe and photograph wildlife.
- February 7, 2014: New Mattamuskeet Fact Sheet & FAQs posted.
- February 6, 2014: waterfowl hunt records from 2011, 2012 and 2013 have been posted on our hunting page.
In the early 20th century, farmers and developers attempted to drain Lake Mattamuskeet, building the world’s largest pumping plant at the time. The lake was drained for certain periods to convert the lake bottom to farmland. Eventually, the effort was abandoned as impractical and too expensive.
After the U.S. Government acquired the land in 1934 to establish the Refuge, the Civilian Conservation Corps converted the former pumping plant into a hunting lodge that was operated until 1974. The Mattamuskeet Lodge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and it was transferred to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission in 2007.
- Water management for waterfowl, shorebirds and fisheries.
- Cooperative farming.
- Prescribed fire.
- Mechanical/chemical control of noxious plants.
- Deer management with public hunting.
- Public education and environmental interpretation (tours, exhibits, etc.)
- Law enforcement.