Eventually, winter will come to the northeast. Technically, winter begins today, although you would never know it by looking out your window. With temperatures 20 degrees above average, it feels more like the longest autumn ever! However, this can’t last forever… Eventually, winter will come. When it does, keep in mind all of the amazing opportunities to observe wildlife in the snow at your local National Wildlife Refuge, by snowshoe or cross country ski. Always a great way to cure the winter blues!
Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge– Explore several miles of ungroomed trails, keeping on the lookout for white-tailed deer, fox, and migratory waterfowl such as black ducks, common loons, and red-breasted mergansers.
Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge– Take your pick from more than 25 miles of ski and snowshoe trails! Wildlife you may encounter include great blue heron, Canada geese, barred owl, or mink.
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge– Depending on your preferred method of transportation, follow 7.5 miles of ungroomed ski trails or 2.5 miles of ungroomed snowshoe trails. If your party uses both skis and snowshoes, take Feeder Road instead, a 3.5 mile trail that is open to both snowshoeing and skiing. Try to spot white-tailed deer, otters, and songbirds along the way.
Erie National Wildlife Refuge– Explore the two looped trails found on the Refuge’s Sugar Lake Division, the Tsuga Trail (1.5 mile loop) and Deer Run Trail (3 mile loop). Animals that call this refuge home include white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and plenty of songbirds.
Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, Nulhegan Division– Trek along the North Branch Trail, a 4 mile loop along the north branch of the Nulhegan River. This pedestrian-only trail offers beautiful river views and generally flat terrain with a few slight slopes. There is a plowed 3-car parking area adjacent to Route 105 in Ferdinand. Examine tracks in the snow and you may find evidence of resident snowshoe hare, moose, or bobcat!
Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge– Navigate the 31 miles of ungroomed refuge trails on your own, or join a guided tour offered by the neighboring White Grass Ski Touring Center. Tours offer rental equipment, last about an hour, and cover a mile of easy rolling terrain. Check out the website links above for more information.