During the month of June, three special programs will introduce visitors to interesting aspects of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge:
Saturday, June 15 at 10 a.m., Dave Skolada will lead a prairie walk on the trails around the visitor center. The content of this walk will be enjoyed by people ages 14 years and older. Walking distance will be less than a mile on relatively flat surfaces. Saturday, June 22 at 10 a.m., Carol Popelka will present “Whoop It Up!” a program about whooping cranes. This program is suitable for children ages eight and older. We will enjoy this program inside the visitor center. Saturday, June 29 at 10 a.m., Joan Schnabel will present a program about birds of prey. Joan will be accompanied by a live bird of prey that cannot be released into the wild. This program is suitable for children and adults of all ages. We will enjoy this program inside the visitor center.
Visitors can also enjoy the exhibits inside the center and the 2.3 miles of trails that surround the facility. Portions of the trail are paved and open to bicycles while the other portions of the trail have a gravel surface and are open to foot traffic only. Dogs are welcome on the trails, though they must be leashed and owners are responsible for cleaning up pet waste.
For more information, contact the La Crosse District Office at (608) 779-2399 or visit the new facility, located at N5727 County Road Z, Onalaska, WI. Visitor center hours are Tuesday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. The center is closed on Monday and all Federal holidays.
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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.