Bulletin
Bring on the Snow
Where to Make Tracks this Winter at a National Wildlife Refuge

December 26, 2013

Contacts:
Vanessa Kauffman
703-358-2138
vanessa_kauffman@fws.gov
 
Martha Nudel
703-358-1858
martha_nudel@fws.gov
 

Don’t sit out winter. Get into it at a national wildlife refuge. Explore miles of scenic trails by snowshoe, ski or sled; some refuges lend you the equipment free! Join a planned event – or go when it suits you. Here are some favorite winter activities and some great refuges to do them in:
 
Snowshoeing
Snow’s too deep for hiking? Play Bigfoot. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. Expend a little energy while you look for signs of fox, deer and other wildlife.
 
IDAHO
Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge
Cross-country ski or snowshoe on five trails plus a 4.5 mile auto tour route, unplowed in winter. The tour route goes by an eagle’s nest.
 
MAINE
Aroostock National Wildlife Refuge
5+ miles of groomed ski and snowshoe trails
 
MASSACHUSETTS
Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge
Snowshoe Clinic
January 18, 9 a.m. to noon
Join Sudbury Valley Trustees and Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) of Acton, Marlborough, and Northborough for lessons at Memorial Forest in Sudbury. EMS will provide snowshoes. SVT's Memorial Forest includes the southern unit of Assabet River Refuge. Register here.
 
MINNESOTA
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Winter Wildlife Snowshoe Trek
December 27, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Take a snowshoe discovery hike along Long Meadow Lake. Borrow snowshoes, free with a picture ID. Or cross-country ski or snowshoe at other times. Hundreds of miles of trails connect to state and municipal trails. Look for wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, bald eagles and woodpeckers. Information: 952-854-5900.
 
NEW HAMPSHIRE
Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Take the two-mile Ferry Way Trail to the bay’s open water or a shorter trail to Upper Peverly Pond.
Look for bald eagles, wild turkey, white-tailed deer and red fox.
 
NORTH DAKOTA
Audubon National Wildlife Refuge
Snowshoe Hike
February 1, 10 - 11:30 a.m.
Explore the wintry refuge landscape. Look for white-tailed deer, ring-necked pheasants and bald eagles. Warm up with a cup of coffee or hot cocoa. Pre-register: 701-442-5474 ext. 110.
 
Or snowshoe other times on the eight-mile auto tour route or the one-mile Prairie Nature Trail. Borrow snowshoes from the refuge, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
 
PENNSYLVANIA
Erie National Wildlife Refuge
4.5 miles of trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking.
 
WEST VIRGINIA
Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Join a Snowshoe Discovery Tour from adjacent White Grass Ski Touring Center into the refuge
Information: 304- 866-4114.
 
  • December 22, 1-2 p.m. Focus: Area climate, forest type and geology
  • January 1, 10 a.m. Focus: Natural history and local lore
  • January 5, 10 a.m.
  • January 12, 10 a.m.
  • January 20, 10 a.m. Focus: Natural history, relationship between White Grass and Fish and Wildlife Service, establishment of Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
  • February 17, 10 a.m. Focus: Natural history, relationship between White Grass and Fish and Wildlife Service, establishment of Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
 
WISCONSIN
Necedah National Wildlife Refuge
Snowshoe lesson and habitat hike
January 11, 10 to 11 a.m.
Or enjoy ungroomed ski and snowshoe trails seven days a week, from sunrise to sunset. Borrow a pair of adult or child-size snowshoes at the visitor center. Information: 608-565-2551
 
Cross-country skiing
Leave the world behind and go for a quiet glide in the woods or on a wildlife trail.
 
ALASKA
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
16 miles of forested ski and snowshoe trails.
 
IDAHO
Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge
6.5 miles of wide, largely flat ungroomed ski trails.
Look for elk, white-tailed deer, Canada geese and tundra swans.
 
MAINE
Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
5 miles of ungroomed trails.
Look for white-tailed deer, moose and migratory waterfowl such as black ducks, mallards and Canada geese.
 
MICHIGAN
Seney National Wildlife Refuge
9+ miles of groomed trails.
Ski through a maple, beech and birch forest. See marshes and the frozen Manistique River. Trails are groomed for classic cross-country skiing. You may see a white-tailed deer, bald eagle, coyote or a red fox.
 
MINNESOTA
Rydell National Wildlife Refuge
7 miles of wide groomed trails.
Look for white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, fishers.
 
Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge
8 miles of trails.
Look for white-tailed deer, wolves, otters.
 
NEW YORK
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
7.5 miles of ungroomed ski trails. 2.5 miles of ungroomed snowshoe trails.
Look for white-tailed deer, otters, songbirds.
 
NORTH DAKOTA
Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge
7.5 miles of trail for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.


WEST VIRGINIA
Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
31 miles of ungroomed refuge trails plus 18 miles of trails groomed by adjacent White Grass Ski Touring Center.
Choose easy flat trails or challenging ones that climb through the woods. You may see white-tailed deer, rabbit, snowshoe hare, rough-legged hawks, wild turkey or songbirds. White Grass has equipment rentals. Information: 304- 866-3858
 
WISCONSIN
Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge
4 miles of ungroomed trails.
Look for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, fox and otter. Snowshoes are available free for use on site.
 
Dog sledding
You read that right. Traveling by dog sled is part of the Alaska tradition; in the lower 48, dog sledding is more exotic, but still possible. Unless you’ve got your own sled and dog team, expect to pay a private concessionaire.
 
ALASKA
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
 
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
 
Selawik National Wildlife Refuge
In April, see the excitement of the Kobuk 440, a dog sled race that’s a qualifying event for the Iditarod. Mushers (20 teams, maximum) compete for a $12,000 first-place prize.
 
Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge
 
NEW HAMPSHIRE
Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge
60+ miles of privately groomed trails
 
Sleigh Ride
Sit back and enjoy a close-up look at elk. Not many places where you can do this.
 
WYOMING
National Elk Refuge
Take a horse drawn sleigh ride past wintering elk. http://1.usa.gov/1646lhY
or http://bit.ly/1djB8Mb Daily except for Christmas.
 
Winter Wildlife Tours 
Sit back and enjoy the scenery.

COLORADO
Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
Wildlife Viewing Tours
January 18, 9:30 – 11:30 am
January 19, 9:30 – 11:30 am
February 15, 9:30 – 11:30 am
February 16, 9:30—11:30 am
See bison, hawks, eagles, deer in a winter landscape bus tour.

WYOMING
National Elk Refuge
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 1:30 to 4 p.m.
Take a free guided tour along the refuge road where elk, bighorn sheep, waterfowl and other animals can frequently be seen. Hear a naturalist recount refuge history and wildlife management methods. Reservations: 307-734-9378. Updates: http://1.usa.gov/19amBix
 
Ice fishing
You needn’t wait til spring to catch fish. Cut a hole in a frozen lake and drop your line in. No boat needed.
 
ALASKA
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
 
IOWA
DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge
 
MICHIGAN
Seney National Wildlife Refuge
 
MINNESOTA, WISCONSIN, IOWA, ILLINOIS
Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge
 
NEBRASKA
Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge
 
NEW YORK
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

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Flickr set: Winter recreation on refuges: http://bit.ly/19rj8ix
The National Wildlife Refuge System protects wildlife and wildlife habitat on more than 150 million acres of land and water from the Caribbean to the Pacific, Maine to Alaska. Refuges also improve human health, provide outdoor recreation and support local economies. Visit our home page at www.fws.gov/refuges. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter


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