National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings. Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, stretching along 65 miles of Kentucky Lake is well known as a great place to find your connection with nature. Its wide diversity of habitats makes it an important
A conservation area or wildlife management area is a type of national wildlife refuge that consists primarily or entirely of conservation easements on private lands. These conservation easements support private landowner efforts to protect important habitat for fish and wildlife . There are 12 conservation areas and nine wildlife management areas in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Learn more about conservation area for migratory birds and other wildlife.
If you enjoy getting outdoors and looking for wildlife, consider a visit to Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge! Hunting, fishing, birding, photography, boating, biking, hiking, kayaking and simply taking a peaceful drive to see the wildlife are all popular activities on the refuge. To help you get the most out of your visit, this 51,000 acre refuge has miles of peaceful refuge roads, several hiking trails, wildlife observation decks and blinds, an auto tour, 23 boat ramps, and a fishing pier.
Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that we recognize as a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in America’s heritage. Our hunt program spans from spring to fall and requires the purchase of an annual hunting permit.
About half the refuge is water and fishing is excellent on the refuge. Most of the refuge waters are open year round, but some areas are closed seasonally from Nov. 15 – Mar. 15 to provide sanctuary for waterfowl and other migratory birds. These waters also provide a serene area to dip a paddle with your canoe or kayak.
From backyard birding, serious birding, birding festivals and photography, wildlife observation is one of the most popular activities for refuge visitors. On the 4th weekend of January, the refuge hosts the Wings of Winter Birding Festival along with other area public lands in the Kentucky Lake/Lake Barkley area. This festival is sponsored by the Friends of Tennessee NWR.
Our state of the arts visitor center offers exhibits, auditorium, environmental education classroom and nature bookstore. Entry is free and it is open Monday – Saturday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm (except for Federal holidays). The refuge hosts a series of free educational events at the center called the “Refuge Discovery Series”. Environmental education is emphasized at this facility and teachers or groups are encouraged to utilize this free facility for your next field trip. These ranger guided field trips offer a bus grant from the Friends of Tennessee NWR to help offset bus transportation costs.
Other Facilities in the Complex
Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Complex.