Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge

Location: Dover, Tennessee

Webpage: National Wildlife Refuge

General Description: Cross Creeks NWR was established in 1962 following the completion of Lake Barkley on the Cumberland River.  It replaced the Kentucky Woodlands NWR, which had been established in 1938, since it was now largely underwater.  The main objective of the NWR is to replace the loss of waterfowl habitat along the river when the floodplain was impounded.  The refuge’s 12 mile long rich bottomlands are surrounded by rolling hills and rocky bluffs of the Tennessee’s Western Highland Rim Physiographic Region.  Harwood forests of oaks, hickories, sugar maple, and ash make up 1/3 of the refuge with the remainder in impounded water, wetlands, fields, and farmland.  On the refuge are multiple opportunities for fishing, boating, and wildlife observation.  There is a 10 mile drive along the Cumberland River and a 1 mile loop trail, known as Woodpecker Trail.

Brochure

Impressions:

1) As we visited on the weekend, the Visitor Center was not open.  However the observation platform behind the Center was accessible.

VisitorCenter

2) As with all the NWR we have visited, our main purpose in visiting is to observe the wildlife.  The 10 mile drive along the river bank provides many opportunities for just that.  There is a nesting pair of Bald Eagles along the drive, although we did not actually see them.  We were fortunate to see a racoon and a Barred Owl up in the trees along the road.

3) We also explored the Woodpecker Trail, where we saw the racoon.  It is a nice gentle walk through the bottomland forest on the Cumberland River floodplain.  There are a few interpretive signs along the trail identifying tree species and habitats.  Although it was suppose to be a loop trail, when we got to the backside of the trail it just disappeared.  After wandering around for a while hoping to pick it back up, we gave up and just returned to the truck.

WoodpeckerTrail