Location: Seymour, Indiana
Webpage: National Wildlife Refuge
General Description: In 1966, the US Fish and Wildlife Service purchased and set aside wetlands for wildlife in Indiana’s first National Wildlife Refuge, Muscatatuck, on old, flood prone farm land. Their main mission is to restore, preserve, and manage a mix of forest, wetland, and grassland habitat for fish, wildlife, and people. Managing for wildlife is the top priority with special emphasis on waterfowl, especially migratory birds and endangered species. Over 280 species of birds have been seen at Muscatatuck. The entire refuge consists of two units, 7,724 acres near Seymour, and 78 acres near Bloomington. Wetland levels are managed by natural fluctuation of water levels in conjunction with impoundment areas connected by dikes and pipes. The forests are slowly recovering from the old farm field conditions into shrublands and eventually mature hardwood forests. The grasslands are periodically mowed, disked, or burned to prevent trees from taking over.
1) Muscatatuck has a lot to offer visitors beginning with the very nice Visitor Center. There are a number of exhibits of local wildlife with hands on displays of sights and sounds. There is also a quarter mile loop trail that is paved with boardwalks over the wetter areas around a couple of small ponds behind the Visitor Center.
2) There is a 4 mile driving loop with 12 numbered stops and a brochure about the management practices in each area. You get a very good overview of the refuge as there are stops in each of the major habitats on the refuge.
3) Along the driving tour there are a couple of foot trails that lead to overlooks with permanent viewers. A short walk leads to an overlook structure located on North Endicott Marsh and a one-mile loop trail leads to an overlook structure on Richert Lake. Especially this loop trail provides access to some of the upland forests on the refuge as it circles down to the lake.