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North Carolina National Wildlife Refuges

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge- The vast expanse of undisturbed swamp forest and wetlands on this 152,000 acre refuge contains many important wildlife and ecological resources. Since clear-cutting, peat mining, and agricultural conversion have developed much of the Pamlico Peninsula, this area remains one of the most remote and diverse swamps in eastern North Carolina.
Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge- Today the Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge consists of 14,480 acres and approximately 11,000 acres of irregularly flooded, brackish marsh and 3,480 acres of pocosin and woodland habitat.
Currituck National Wildlife Refuge- The refuge is comprised of five main tracts scattered along the barrier island. The 1,142-acre Currituck Marsh tract and the 247-acre Station Landing Marsh tract are the two most northern tracts. The 1,390-acre Swan Island tract is the next tract to the south. The 380-acre Monkey Island tract, which includes several small islands in Currituck Sound, is located just north of a 50-acre tract owned by The Nature Conservancy and an adjoining 335-acre tract owned by the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve. The two most southern tracts are the County Marsh tracts, totaling 54 acres, which are located northwest of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla, NC.
Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge- The 8,646-acre Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge is on the north side of Currituck Sound, which has long been recognized for supporting significant migratory waterfowl populations and sport fishery resources.
Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge- Located in eastern North Carolina in Hyde County, the Mattamuskeet Refuge consists of more than 50,000 acres of water, marsh, timber and crop lands.
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge- Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge was established as a wintering area for the greater snow goose and other migratory waterfowl. The refuge is located on the north end of Hatteras Island, a coastal barrier island and part of a chain of islands known as the Outer Banks.
Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge- Pee Dee was established with the purpose of providing sanctuary and wintering habitat for migratory birds.
Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge- The predominant vegetation type of the refuge is southeastern shrub bog, which is also known as pocosin. This ecosystem is characterized by a very dense growth of mostly broadleaf evergreen shrubs and scattered pond pine. The dominant species of the bottomland hardwood forest are blackgum and Carolina ash, with smaller components of red maple, water tupelo, loblolly pine and bald cypress.
Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge- The refuge includes forested wetlands in the lower 130 miles of the Roanoke River from the fall line at Weldon, NC downstream to the Albemarle Sound near Plymouth, NC.
Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge- Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge, located on Pamlico Sound in Hyde County, North Carolina. Approximately 8,800 acres are included in the National Wilderness Preservation System.

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General Information

Description - The Wildlife Refuges in North Carolina cover areas of upland forests, wetland forests, marshlands, rivers, coastal estuaries and more. These refuges provide essential habitat for wildlife and fish populations. Most were established to protect and enhance wetlands for the conservation of migratory birds; some were established to provide habitat for the Nation's endangered species.

Recreation - The goal of the refuges is to provide fishing, wildlife watching, plant life observation and enjoyment for the public. Several of the refuges offer excellent bird-watching opportunities.

Climate - North Carolina has a temperate climate with mild winters and long fall and spring months. Summers can be hot and humid, especially in the piedmont and coastal plain region, which don't get relief from coastal breezes or higher elevations.

Location - The National Wildlife Refuges in North Carolina are located in the eastern half of the state, mostly along or near the coast except for one refuge which is located in the piedmont area.

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North Carolina - The terrain of this southern state varies from east to west. Travelers can explore barrier islands in the Atlantic Ocean and 6,000 foot mountains in the Appalachians without leaving the North Carolina State boundaries.

Ute City Photo - View photographer Robbie George's stunning landscape and wildlife photos of North Carolina's Wildlife Refuges.


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