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New Hampshire National Wildlife Refuges



Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge- This diversity of habitat at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge supports a wide range of wildlife, including the largest concentration of wintering American black ducks in New Hampshire. Bald eagles winter along the generally open waters of Great Bay and frequently perch along the shoreline.
John Hay National Wildlife Refuge- This remote refuge located along the banks of Sunapee Lake, offers nesting habitat for migratory upland birds. This site was once the summer residence of the first secretary of state, John Hay and archeologist Clarence Hay.
Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge- Lake Umbagog NWR is part of a comprehensive cooperative protection and management effort to preserve wildlife, wildlife habitat, wetlands and timber resources along the northern Maine / New Hampshire border.
Wapack National Wildlife Refuge- Wapack National Wildlife Refuge, located in southern New Hampshire on North Pack Monadnock Mountain, is managed as a wilderness area. The Refuge is entirely wooded upland and exposed rock.

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General Information

Description - The four National Wildlife Refuges in New Hampshire each offer a unique habitat for wildlife and plant life. The Wapack NWR provides a nesting area for migrating birds and an opportunity to view the migrations. A 22-mile trail is offered. The John Hay National Wildlife Refuge also serves as beacon of habitat for migrating and nesting upland birds. Once the summer residence of the Hay family, including the first secretary of state, today the John Hay NWR offers a remote area open to the public for wildlife viewing, nature photography and limited hiking with views of Sunapee Lake. Tidal waters, coastal lands and wetlands characterize the Great Bay NWR. Boardwalks and wooden platforms offer an opportunity for watching migrating fowl including greater and lesser scaup, red-breasted mergansers, Canadian geese, goldeneye, brant and oldsquaw. The Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge is one the state's most productive breeding territories for the common loon. This refuge offers a chance to bird-watch at New England's most populous osprey areas. The state of New Hampshire, the state of Maine and private industries work together to preserve this large refuge while offering educational insights to the general public

Attractions - The Wapack NWR provides a nesting area for migrating birds amidst its timbered slopes. Hiking and wildlife viewing are the most popular attractions at this upland forest and boulder wilderness area. Located along the banks of the Sunapee Lake, The John Hay NWR offers an opportunity to explore the extensive gardens and grounds of the late 19th century summer home of the Hay family. Today the refuge offers protected habitat for migrating birds. The Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge contains a diversity of habitat types. Present habitat consists of forested uplands (55%), open grasslands (19%), shrub (13%), fresh water (6%), forested wetlands (4%) and salt marsh (3%). This diversity supports a wide range of wildlife, including the largest concentration of wintering American black ducks in New Hampshire. Bald eagles winter along the generally open waters of Great Bay and frequently perch along the shoreline. The Lake Umbagog NWR is part of a comprehensive cooperative protection and management effort to preserve wildlife, wetlands and timber resources along the northern Maine / New Hampshire border. Involved with USDI Fish and Wildlife Service in the effort are the states of New Hampshire and Maine and many private industries. The project includes 8,700-acre Umbagog Lake, associated uplands and freshwater marshes.

Recreation - Wildlife viewing, nature photography, hiking the Wapack Trail (a spur of the Appalachian Trail) and snowshoeing are enjoyed at the Wapack NWR. The John Hay NWR offers an opportunity to view migrations, enjoy nature photography and hike the short 1.8 mile Forest Ecology Trail to a historic estate. The Great Bay NWR has over 5,350 acres available for boating, hunting, fishing and hiking. Wooden platforms and boardwalks offer an excellent opportunity for bird-watching. This is a prime location for watching the migrating peregrine falcon. In addition, the American Bald Eagle and a concentration of American black ducks winter at the refuge. Each fall a white-tailed deer lottery hunt is sponsored. Bird-watching is the main recreation enjoyed at Lake Umbagog NWR. An interpretive center highlights the importance of the area's habitat and its role in protecting and maintaining waterfowl, mammals and more. Fishing and boating are available seasonally.

Climate - New Hampshire residents experience four distinct seasons. Winter can be cold with average temperatures reaching 25 degrees F in December, January and February. The cold temperatures humidity bring heavy, water-laden snow to all parts of the state. Spring begins in mid-March and lasts through May. This time of the year is referred to as mud season in the mountains. The sugar is flowing early in the season and wild flowers bloom toward the end of it. Summer is the busiest season of the year for the tourism industry. This is an excellent time to travel, mountain roads are open and most of the mud has dried. Fall brings the leaf lookers to see the spectacular colors of the deciduous trees. Expect to see bus loads of people enjoying the crisp fall New England weather.

Location - The Wapack NWR is located in the Peterborough area in southern New Hampshire. Travel north on US 202 about 1 mile turning right (east) onto Sand Hill Road. Follow a short distance until the road makes a sharp left then a sharp right and becomes Old Mountain Road where the NWR land begins. John Hay NWR is reached from Newbury by traveling SR 103A north about 2 miles to the entrance. To reach Great Bay NWR from Portsmouth travel north on US 4 to Exit 4. Head southwest on Nimble Hill Road for several miles. The Lake Umbagog NWR is located in northern New Hampshire along the Maine state line. The refuge borders Umbagog Lake immediately south of where SR 16 crosses the state line. The town of Errol is located a few miles to the west at the intersection of SR 26 and SR 16.


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More Information

Contact Information:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1849 C Street NW , Washington, DC, 20240

Additional Information:
New Hampshire - New Hampshire is characterized by its spectacular beauty, rich heritage, and the strength of its people. The gorgeous landscape ranges from the Atlantic Ocean, White Mountains, rolling farmland, glorious lakes and rivers and quaint New England villages. New Hampshire also holds the distinction of having the longest wooden covered bridge in the country, the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge (built in 1866) spans the Connecticut River.

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