Refuge Visitor Center closed for renovations beginning March 13, 2022
The Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center will be closed to the public March 13 - October 31, 2022 while contractors renovate the Visitor Center and Observation Building. Starting March 13, 2022, and continuing through the duration of construction, the entire Visitor Center Road and access will be closed to all visitors. This includes the Visitor Center building, grounds, parking lot, Observation Building, and Atkeson Cypress Boardwalk. During this closure, environmental education and group visits to the refuge will not be scheduled, allowing refuge staff and contractors the flexibility needed to safely complete as much of the construction as possible before next winter’s peak visitation, when the cranes and waterfowl are present. In addition, the Beaverdam Swamp Boardwalk in Madison remains closed as crews continue to rebuild the boardwalk. For your own safety, please do not enter these construction sites. Construction on the Flint Creek Trail should be completed before the end of March and will soon reopen. During the Visitor Center closure, the refuge will not operate an in-person visitor contact station. Refuge information, maps, and trail guides will be available at the information kiosk located outside the visitor center gate off the south side of Highway 67 as well as the refuge website. Visitors needing further assistance should call the refuge at (256) 350-6639 Monday-Friday, 9:00am - 4:00pm. Visitor Center and Observation Building renovations are part of a larger project to improve visitor amenities at the refuge. This includes rehabilitating refuge boardwalks, building a new wildlife photography blind, building an outdoor classroom, adding a canoe launch at Dancy Bottoms trail, constructing a new multi-use 5-mile trail near the visitor center, and replacing visitor center exhibits. Replacement of the visitor center exhibits will likely not be completed until early 2023 after the visitor center has reopened. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we construct these visitor enhancements as safely and efficiently as possible. Wheeler NWR provides 35,000 acres of wetlands, fields, and forest habitat for migrating, nesting, and wintering birds. In addition to conserving habitat for wildlife, the refuge provides public access for wildlife-dependent recreation such as: fishing, hunting, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, interpretation, and environmental education. Wheeler NWR is one of over 560 national wildlife refuges across the United States administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.