About the Refuge

Refuge Vista

A Pocket of Wetlands in South-central Indiana

Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1966 as a refuge to provide resting and feeding areas for waterfowl during their annual migrations. The refuge includes 7,724 acres near Seymour, and a 78-acre parcel, known as the Restle Unit, near Bloomington. The refuge mission is to restore, preserve, and manage a mix of forest, wetland, and grassland habitat for fish, wildlife, and people. 

Before Muscatatuck was a refuge it was the hunting and fishing grounds of Native Americans. Later inhabitants were farmers who attempted, often unsuccessfully, to raise crops in flood-prone land. There were sawmills, a canning factory, schools, and cemeteries. In the 1950's an idea was started to establish a national wildlife refuge in Indiana. Eventually, thanks to the efforts of many conservation groups, Muscatatuck was the result of that idea.  

In 2016 Muscatatuck celebrated its 50th anniversary and Refuge Volunteer Jane Hays compiled a History Book that was printed by the Muscatatuck Wildlife Society. The book is a fascinating story of the people who were here before, and those who made the refuge what it is today.

Approximately 290 species of birds have been seen at Muscatatuck, and the refuge is recognized as a “Continentally Important” bird area. Check out our refuge Bird list for current records.The wetlands of Muscatatuck also provide homes for uncommon reptiles and amphibians including northern copperbelly water snakes, four-toed salamanders, and Kirtlands snakes. Other wildlife documented on the refuge include 24 species of mussels, 33 species of dragonflies, 60 species of butterflies, 43 species of mammals, and 92 species of fishThere is a small Acid Seep Spring Research Natural Area on the refuge that contains some plant species uncommon in Indiana due to the acidic quality of the water.