Description - The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife manage two wildlife refuges in Vermont. Silvio O. Conte NWR stretches into four states including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, and the Missisquoi NWR is located on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain near the Canadian Border. The Wildlife Refuges provide excellent habitat for waterfowl, other bird life and an abundance of wildlife. The refuges also offer opportunities for bird-watching, viewing wildlife, nature study and hiking.
- The purposes of the Silvio O. Conte Fish and Wildlife Refuge are to conserve, protect and enhance the Connecticut River Valley populations of Atlantic salmon, American shad, river herring, shortnose sturgeon, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, osprey, black ducks and other native species of plants, fish and wildlife.
The Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge includes most of the Missisquoi River delta where it flows into Missisquoi Bay. The refuge consists of quiet waters and wetlands which attract large flocks of migratory birds providing important feeding, resting, and breeding habitat especially waterfowl, in eastern Canada and the northern Lake Champlain section of the Flyway. The refuge is a major migration stop for mallards, black ducks, wood ducks, ring-necked ducks and snow geese.
Recreation - At present, the Silvio O. Conte Refuge office (Massachusetts) has a small visitor area offering brochures on a variety of wildlife topics and information about local natural history programming. Maps of local public areas for walking, hiking, boating and watching wildlife are available.
The Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge consists of quiet waters and wetlands which attract large flocks of migratory birds. Boating, fishing and hunting are enjoyed on these grounds. In addition, a visitor center offers a place to partake in an educational program, obtain brochures, use restrooms and learn more about the Refuge.
Climate - Vermont's climate varies somewhat depending on region. Generally, the state experiences mild summers with temperatures rarely reaching 90 degrees F. Often summer lows will dip to 50 degrees and by late August temperatures begin to cool. Signs of spring are evident in the Champlain Valley by late March, although the high country begins mud season at this time and doesn't get a full thaw until late April. The mountainous regions of the state have seen snow fall in every month, so be prepared for cooler temperatures if staying in those areas.
Winters can be harsh and long in this northern state. Snow is likely to fall anytime between September and April. Humidity makes winter weather seem bitter and usually a few weeks during the winter see night time temperature below zero. The average winter temperature is 20 degrees F with highs reaching into the forties on warm days.
To reach the main entrance (Massachusetts) to the Silvio O. Conte Fish and Wildlife Refuge from the east: Travel Rt. 2 west, cross Connecticut River at French King Bridge, next light go left, cross the bridge, second building on right. From the west: Travel Rt. 2 east to rotary in Greenfield, take Rt. I91 north to exit 27, take Rt. 2 east, go to the second light, turn right and cross the bridge, second building on the right. From the north or south: Take exit 27, take Rt. 2 east, go to the second light, turn right and cross the bridge, second building on the right.
Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge is located on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain near the Canadian Border in Franklin County, Vermont.