Additional Trails to Be Constructed at New Refuge Visitor Center
New walking trails will soon be available at the recently opened Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge Visitor Center on Brice Prairie. Trail construction is scheduled to begin the week of October 29, 2012.When completed, this project will add two trail loops of almost 1½ miles to the nearly ¾-mile main walking/bike trail that was completed earlier this year. About 1¼ miles of the new trails will have a gravel surface and be a walking trail only. The remaining ¼-mile will be paved and available to walkers and bicyclists. The trails will wind through 185 acres of restored sand prairie.In addition to the new trails, two small parking lots will also be constructed along County Road ZB. One will be located across from an existing public walkdown that provides access to Lake Onalaska. The second will provide parking for a future overlook to be constructed along the Lake Onalaska shoreline. Each parking lot is designed to accommodate six vehicles and one bus.These new facilities will be accessible as defined in the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).Funding for the project was provided by a grant from the Federal HighwayAdministration’s National Scenic Byway Program and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Transportation Program Funds.The general contractor is McHugh Excavating and Plumbing of Onalaska, Wisc.--More--U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service2Construction will continue as long as weather conditions permit and be completed inspring 2013.For safety reasons, the existing section of walking/bike trail will be closed while construction is ongoing.For more information, contact the La Crosse District Office at (608) 779-2399 or visit the new visitor center, located at N5727 County Road Z, Onalaska, WI. Visitor center hours until November 21st are Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. We will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Please call for winter hours after November 22nd.* * * * * * *The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is the most visited refuge in the United States. The refuge extends 261 miles along the Upper Mississippi River from Wabasha, Minn. to Rock Island, Ill., protecting and preserving habitat for migratory birds, fish, and a variety of other wildlife.In addition to being the most visited refuge in the country, the “Upper Miss” Refuge has the added complexity of a major navigation system, including 11 locks and dams, within its boundary. It is also a world-class fish and wildlife area which harbors 306 species of birds; 119 species of fish; more than 300 active bald eagle nests; thousands of heron and egret nests; spectacular concentrations of canvasback ducks, tundra swans, and white pelicans; and several threatened or endangered species..
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A year round resident on the refuge however numbers soar during the winter. Look below locks and dams where the river is not frozen. Aerial displays and pair bonding are best viewed from January through March. In winter, over 1,000 bald eagles grab fish,ducks or coots in the open water.