Visitor Activities

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 “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

― Margaret Atwood

  • Hunting

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    Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that we recognize as a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in America’s heritage.  Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciation of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs.

    As practiced on the Lake Isom NWR, hunting and fishing do not pose a threat to wildlife populations, and in some instances are necessary for sound wildlife management.  

    Hunting programs can promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on lands and waters in the Refuge System.

    To find out more about hunting opportunities, seasons and regulations on the Lake Isom National Wildlife Refuge, see our Reelfoot and Lake Isom NWR's Public Regulations brochure.

  • Wildlife Viewing

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    If you enjoy getting outdoors and looking for wildlife, consider a visit to the Lake Isom NWR!

    From an assortment of waterfowl species to the majestic bald eagle, there is much to see during the winter months.  An abundance of ducks and geese have been observed at the refuge.  Deer and turkey can be easily viewed as well.    

    Lake Isom NWR's observation decks, and boat/canoe launches encourage visitors to discover America’s best wildlife spectacles.  For more information about wildlife observation opportunities at Lake Isom  NWR, contact Refuge Ranger Tara Dowdy.

  • Interpretation

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    Refuge System interpretation programs provide opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to the natural world.  From self-guided walks to ranger-led programs, many national wildlife refuges help visitors learn more about the wildlife and habitat behind the landscapes.

    In addition to staff and volunteers presenting programs to audiences, refuges use a variety of exhibits, signs, brochures, and electronic media to communicate natural history stories to visitors.  

    Lake Isom NWR offers two interpretive kiosks, and a viewing tower.

  • Environmental Education

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    National Wildlife Refuges serve many purposes, and one of our most important roles is as outdoor classrooms to teach about wildlife and natural resources.  Lake Isom & Reelfoot NWR offer environmental education programs for a variety of audiences.  Refuges provide unique and exciting outdoor environments – excellent locations for hands-on learning activities.  Many youth and adult groups visit every year to learn about a specific topic on wildlife, habitat, or ecological processes.

    Is your school, youth, environmental or other group interested in learning more about the wildlife, plants, habitats and ecology of Lake Isom and/or Reelfoot Lake?  Contact or visit the Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge to check on program availability.  Refuges are wild places, and we want to teach you more about them!

  • Photography


    Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography.  That’s not surprising – the digital camera population explosion and cell phones with ever-improving picture-taking abilities are increasing the number of nature photographers at a rapid rate.  You don’t need to purchase expensive equipment or have any experience to get started.  A small camera or basic cell phone will do just fine for most visitors.

    Nearly 12 million people visit outdoor areas each year to photograph wildlife, and national wildlife refuges naturally are at the top of the list.  Refuges provide enhanced opportunities to photograph wildlife in natural habitats by providing platforms, brochures, interpreters, viewing areas/towers, and tour routes.  Wildlife photography is a high-priority activity in the Refuge System.  Lake Isom NWR welcomes beginning and expert photographers alike to record their outdoor adventures on film, memory card or internal hard drive!