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Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge




Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge
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General Information

Description - Located in the Seacoast Travel Region of New Hampshire, Great Bay NWR is characterized by tidal waters, coastal lands and wetlands. 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 interpretive center features facts about bald eagles, great blue herons, peregrine falcons and area mammals. The refuge offers a limited deer hunt in the fall through a permit / fee lottery system.

Attractions - 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.

Topography is flat to gently rolling. The Refuge slopes down toward the west with the highest elevation of 100 feet (msl). Six miles of intertidal shoreline comprise the western boundary with The Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The Refuge also administers a 28 acre Conservation Easement in Concord, NH for the endangered Karner blue butterfly.

Recreation - Over 5, 350 acres are available for boating, hunting, fishing and hiking the Peverly Pond Trail and the Ferry Way Trail. 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. An interpretive center features interesting facts about the coast's habitat and the important role it serves for feeding and housing the area's resident wildlife and migratory birds. Each fall a white-tailed deer lottery hunt is sponsored.

Climate - New Hampshire residents experience four distinct seasons. Winter can be cold with average temperatures ranging around 19 degrees Fahrenheit. 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. Average summer temperatures range around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. 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 - From Portsmouth travel north on US 4 to Exit 4. Head southwest on Nimble Hill Road for several miles.


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More Information

Contact Information:
Great Bay NWR, 100 Merrimac Drive , Newington, NH, 03801-2903, Phone: 603-431-7511
, fw5rw_gbnwr@fws.gov

Additional Information:
New Hampshire National Wildlife Refuges - The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife manage four wildlife refuges in New Hampshire including Great Bay, Wapack, John Hay and Lake Umbagog. Each refuge protects and manages biological diverse habitat while offering an educational and recreational opportunity to the public.

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