The Sun Never Sets on the National Wildlife Refuge System

It is a wonderful thing to be a part of the complex 568 unit National Wildlife Refuge System. In the Great Lakes Bay area we have 10,000 acres of protected green space set aside, known as Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge or the Refuge. Since 1953 the United States Fish & Wildlife Service through the Refuge has been providing a resting place for migratory birds and Michigan’s plants and animals. Aside from protection the Refuge provides recreation opportunities for the surrounding community.

We pride ourselves to be a great family destination. One of our most popular attractions is the Wildlife Drive Auto Tour. The Drive now opens daily (since May 1st) through September 30th, 2020 and is free of charge.

This amazing stretch of land is 6.5 miles and takes visitors through the most vital areas of the Refuge. Visitors can expect to see the newly restored Maankiki Marsh, which was converted from 1000 acres of farmland. Views of Maankiki Marsh from the Wildlife Drive showcases an abundance of wildlife including bald eagles, cormorants, terns, ducks, geese, egrets, swans, sandhill cranes, song birds and, as of last year, a large number of American white pelicans. You may also see muskrats, deer and turtles as some of the more common wildlife.

Visiting in the Time of Social Visiting (Different, but Enjoyable)

Help Keep The Wildlife Drive Open By Adhering To The Following Guidelines:

  • Use pull-over areas when stopping to observe wildlife. Otherwise keep driving.
  • Watch for potential construction traffic.
  • Maintain at least 6 foot social distancing on trails and at observation decks.
  • Do not exceed posted speed limit of 15 miles per hour.

Report these and all other suspected violations to: 1-800-292-7800

Note: All public bathrooms are closed for public and employee safety. Please check our Facebook or website for updates before you visit!

You can visit our website to see our News Release on opening of the Wildlife Drive.

Aside from the Wildlife Drive we have 15 miles of hiking trail ready and available to the public year round and select days in the fall. To learn more visit our trails page.

One of Many

We are proud to represent the National Wildlife Refuge System. There are many others that are taking the approach of providing quality visiting opportunities. A few are taking the virtual route, inviting people to enjoy these natural resources from all across the world.

Buckle Up!

Get ready to go on a Refuge Tour across the National Wildlife Refuge System. Your Guide to Visiting National Wildlife Refuges Virtually will take you on a journey from home. Not ready to take off just yet, Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge reminds us of a few things you can do right at home. If journaling would be a cool activity for your kids take a note from Houston Community Partnerships and Engagement with their journaling video. Are your little ones really excited about nature? The Free Junior Ranger Program offers daily postings on the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex Facebook Page. Also, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel, Florida offers a robust program to keep engagement Monday – Friday.

We encourage you to explore your National Wildlife Refuges near and far. There are National Wildlife Refuges in every state and many US territories. Explore your Refuges and see why the sun never sets on the National Wildlife Refuge System.

***Photos were taken by Dave Ferguson.


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