Description - Oxbow NWR was formed by three land transfers from the former U.S. Army, Fort Devens Military Installation, and a recent purchase of private land in Harvard, MA. Two of the transfers from the Army (May, 1974 and February, 1988) formed the original 711-acre portion of the Refuge located south of Massachusetts Route 2. The third Army transfer occurred in May of 1999, and added the 836-acre portion of the Refuge that is located north of Route 2. Finally, approximately 120 acres were added to the Refuge in April, 2001, with the acquisition of the former Watt Farm property along Still River Depot Road in Harvard.
- A variety of wetland habitat types are maintained and protected at Oxbow NWR. Beavers play an important role in the formation and succession of some of these wetlands, and their activities are welcomed, but managed by use of exclosures and perforated pipe to prevent damage to other habitat or refuge facilities. Some areas of wetland on the refuge are experiencing invasion by non-native species, including the common reed (Phragmites) and purple loosestrife.
Recreation - Public use activities include hiking, fishing, small game hunting, interpretation, wildlife observation and photography. Structured educational programs are also available. For regulations and locations of activities please contact the Eastern Massachusetts NWR Complex for additional information at 978-443-4661.
Climate - Massachusetts experiences four distinct seasons with slightly varying temperatures in the inland and coastal regions. Along the coast the water is a moderating factor that often prevents large amounts of snowfall from accumulating through the winter. Summer temperatures are usually cooler than low lying inland areas, due to ocean breezes. This region of the country experiences high humidity in the summer season and temperatures that average close to 80 degrees F. Fall and Spring are pleasant times to visit the region with crisp air and low humidity. Brilliant foliage colors can be found in the central and western regions of the state in late September and October. Winter temperatures can be brutally cold on occasion with a humidity-filled wind, but on average winter daytime temperatures reach 35 degrees F and lows reach into the teens. Spring is usually the wettest time of year, but trees, bushes and flowers are blooming by early May.
From Massachusetts Route 2, take Exit 38 (Route 110/111) south toward Harvard; bear right to stay on Route 110 at Harvard Center; and, turn right onto Still River Depot Road at the Still River Post Office. The refuge parking area is at the end of Still River Depot Road, past the railroad tracks.