Gates to Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge re-open this Saturday, March 6th. The Refuge is closed annually from late October to the first Saturday of March to allow for undisturbed habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl. Once spring arrives the place becomes a Refuge for people as well as wildlife. The public will find opportunities for fishing, bird watching, a relaxing drive, or a hike through the woods at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
Refuge Manager Steve Whitson says there is an abundance of outdoor public use opportunities at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The 2,000 acre Silver Lake is open to fishing and the Auto Tour Route provides for a relaxing drive. There are also plenty of hiking opportunities available, as the entire refuge is open to foot traffic during this time. There is also a nature trail by the Visitor Center with a nice overlook and scopes near the Swan Lake marsh. The refuge is also open to antler shed hunting, mushroom, and berry picking for personal use.
At this time of year, the wildlife viewing includes: hundreds of Trumpeter Swans on the refuge and snow goose numbers can reach in the hundreds of thousands this time of year. March and early April good times to view lots of different species of waterfowl that are migrating back north for the summer. An early morning or late evening drive through the refuge is a good time to see whitetail deer. Mid-April through May provides great viewing opportunities in habitat mudflat areas for the many species of shorebirds that stopover at Swan Lake NWR on the migration routes.
Whitson says, Due to Covid restrictions the Visitor Center is closed with only the main office open and limited capacity.