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Pee Dee
National Wildlife Refuge

Rt. 1, Box 92 - Hwy. 52 N
Wadesboro, NC   28170
E-mail: peedee@fws.gov
Phone Number: 704-694-4424
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
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Continued . . .

The Catawbas were later joined by other tribes. They farmed, hunted, and fished for survival. As Europeans began to settle the area, many of the rich bottomlands and upland hills were cleared for more intensive farming. By the mid-1800's cotton was the principal crop, and remained so well into the 1900's. Today, a mosaic of corn and soybean crops are grown in the Pee Dee flood plain.

The Pee Dee Refuge is located a few hundred yards from the once-famous Lockhart Gaddys Wild Goose Refuge. Mr. Gaddy was an avid goose hunter who used live decoys to hunt Canada geese in fields near the Pee Dee River. In 1934, he retired from hunting, making his small pond a refuge for the wintering Southern James Bay Canada geese.

In October 1934, Gaddys live decoys attracted nine wild Canada geese to his private pond. By the early 1950's, the flock had grown to over 10,000. Bird watchers from all over the United States and several foreign countries visited the Gaddy Pond to feed and observe the geese. Following the deaths of Gaddy and his wife, their refuge was closed to the public.

In the 1960's, numbers of both geese and ducks began to decline in south-central North Carolina. However, lands adjacent to the Pee Dee River and Brown Creek offered excellent potential for waterfowl habitat development. With local and state support, the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge was established in October 1963 to provide habitat for migratory waterfowl.

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