The refuge is run by the US Fish & Wildlife Service and was established 50 years ago to preserve the wetlands and habitat for migrating waterfowl. It is well known as a birding spot and the wetlands are home to river otters (we did not see any, unfortunately!). There are nearly 4 miles of wooded hiking trails throughout and all are pretty easy. They are not connected though, so you need to travel to each trail head. Some are close enough together that it is a short walk to access, but you can drive to each of them. Parking at the trail heads is easy to find, but there are not many spots. During our visit, there was hardly anyone there, but I can picture parking being tricky when the refuge is crowded. It seems that kayaking is permitted on Stanfield and Richard lakes (as is fishing), and we’ll be back when the weather is nice to try them out. Here is a good map of the refuge.
The wetlands and various lakes and ponds are visible form the access roads and there is plenty of room to pull off to the side to take pictures or just get a look at the wildlife.
- Parking: Easy to find but not many spaces at each trail head
- Trail conditions: Flat, well maintained, easy to navigate
- Amenities: Restrooms, two lakes with boat launch, overlook platforms on lakes for wildlife viewing.