Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge provides numerous recreation opportunities. Approximately 5,000 acres of the 7,500 acre refuge are available for wildlife oriented recreation including hunting, fishing, and birding. A wildlife sanctuary encompasses the remaining 2,500 acres of the refuge and is not available for public use. Visitors enjoy viewing the forests, prairies and diverse wildlife, whether boating, driving or hiking. Roads throughout the refuge are graveled and visitors must maintain the posted speed limit. Parking is allowed in designated parking areas only. Hiking is allowed in all areas open to the public. Wildlife observation and photography are encouraged. Please stay out of closed areas to minimize disturbance to plants and animals.
Be aware the Refuge areas open to the public are interspersed with private land. Please check your map and pay attention to any private property signs that you encounter- Do not trespass on private land.
Whether you are a birder, a hunter, or just want to enjoy time in nature there are opportunities at Marais des Cygnes. The bottomland hardwood forests that are the the reason for the Refuge's establishment play host to numerous species of birds, some of which are not common in other parts of the state. Prothonotary warblers nest here in the summer and numerous species of warblers pass through in the spring and fall. Red-headed woodpeckers are a common sight and often heard on the Refuge. Numerous small ponds throughout the Refuge provide habitat and also a place to cast a line but also places to observe birds, look for the tracks of animals that have come to drink or hunt, or listen for frog calls. There are trails through the woods that allow a chance to explore more of the heart of the Refuge. During certain times of the year there are opportunities for hunting white-tailed deer and turkeys with a required special permit. From spring through fall the prairie areas are busy with pollinators and birds and perhaps if you are lucky the chance to see our state reptile, a box turtle. Coming summer of 2022 a new paved ADA accessible Nature Trail will be available at the Headquarters area giving visitors the chance to explore a little bit of what the Refuge has to offer.
Other Facilities in the Complex
Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge is part of the Kansas Refuges Complex and includes Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge as well as the Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita.
The Great Plains Nature Center
The Great Plains Nature Center is a cooperative project between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Kansas Wildlife & Parks, City of Wichita, and the Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center. These Partners share a common goal of providing opportunities for the public to investigate, understand and develop an appreciation for wildlife and the environment, while promoting sound stewardship of natural resources.