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About Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

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Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1938 to provide nesting, resting, and wintering habitat for migratory birds, including the greater snow geese and other migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, raptors, and neotropical migrants; to provide habitat and protection for endangered and threatened species, such as Loggerhead sea turtles; and to provide opportunities for public enjoyment of wildlife and wildlands resources.

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is administered through Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge from the  Administration Office in Manteo, North Carolina:  

100 Conservation Way, Manteo, NC 27954

252-473-1131 alligatorriver@fws.gov   

Visitor Services programs focus on interpretation, environmental education, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and fishing. The refuge is 13 miles north to south and covers 5,834 acres of land and 25,700 acres of Proclamation Boundary waters.

The refuge is located on the north end of Hatteras Island, a coastal barrier island and part of a chain of islands known as the Outer Banks. The bird list for Pea Island Refuge boasts more than 365 species; the wildlife list has 25 species of mammals, 24 species of reptiles, and 5 species (low number due to salt environment) of amphibians.

 

Pea Island Visitor Center 
Pea Island Visitor Center:

NC Highway 12, Hatteras Island, NC

252-987-2394

Directions:  At the south end of Nags Head (intersection of NC 12, US 158, and US 64), follow the signs for Hatteras Island, Cape Hatteras National Seashore and NC 12 south.  You will make a left from Nags Head or a right from Manteo at a traffic light onto NC 12 south.  Follow NC 12 south for approximately 8 miles.  Cross the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge across Oregon Inlet.  On the south side of the bridge you will see the refuge entrance sign on your right.  Approximately 4 miles south on the right is the Visitor Center and an informational kiosk providing information on trails and visitor opportunities.  The Visitor Center is open 9-4 every day based on the availability of volunteers.  

Points of Interest  

Don’t miss the National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center on Roanoke Island and its state-of-the-art exhibits—all free!  Then, venture to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore to Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, a paradise for both birds and birders.  Don't miss the Visitor Center to view displays on local wildlife.  Then, try out one of the scopes trained on North Pond to view various species of birds found there seasonally.  There are two short, universally accessible wildlife trails on Pea Island.  The North Pond Wildlife Trail is half a mile long and terminates at a two level tower which offers spectacular views of the surrounding ponds.  The best birding is during the fall and winter.  This trail is located near the Visitor Center.  There is also a service road that completely encircles North Pond, and visitors may choose to walk the whole route, though insect activity and traffic along the portion on Highway 12 make this less enjoyable for some.  The Salt Flats Wildlife Trail is slightly shorter and located on the north end of North Pond, terminating at a disabled- accessible overlook providing views of the Salt Flats area and North Pond.  During the summer, join refuge staff for programs on topics ranging from sea turtles to life in the sound to bird adaptations.  The refuge also offers guided canoe tours around the sound during the summer months.  

 Know Before You Go

When visiting Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, it is always a good idea to bring drinking water, sunscreen, bug repellent, a light jacket, and a hat and sunglasses.  Depending on the season, the bugs can be bad along the wildlife trails.  Many visitors also bring their own scopes or binoculars and an identification guide for better wildlife viewing.   

Pupose of the Refuge

The purpose of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is to protect and conserve migratory birds and other wildlife resources through the protection of wetlands, in accordance with Executive Order 7864 of August 8, 1938.

Refuge Objectives  

Provide nesting, resting, and wintering habitat for migratory birds, including the greater snow geese and other migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, raptors, and neotropical migrants.
Provide habitat and protection for endangered and threatened species.
Provide opportunities for public enjoyment of wildlife and wildlands resources. Public use programs focus on interpretation, environmental education, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and fishing. 

Summary:
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1938 to provide nesting, resting, and wintering habitat for migratory birds, including the greater snow geese and other migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, raptors, and neotropical migrants; to provide habitat and protection for endangered and threatened species, such as Loggerhead sea turtles; and to provide opportunities for public enjoyment of wildlife and wildlands resources.  Public use programs focus on interpretation, environmental education, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and fishing.  The refuge is 13 miles long and covers 5,834 acres of land and 25,700 acres of Proclamation Boundary waters.  It is located on the north end of Hatteras Island, a coastal barrier island and part of a chain of islands known as the Outer Banks.  The bird list for Pea Island NWR boasts more than 365 species; the wildlife list has 25 species of mammals, 24 species of reptiles, and 5 species (low number due to salt environment) of amphibians. 

 

 

 

Page Photo Credits — Birding Lesson by Bonnie Strawser
Last Updated: Jul 27, 2015
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