Recently, Friends members Ann and Ron Kamzelski visited the Lower Suwannee Refuge. Ann sends this report and all the gorgeous photos.
With the “stay at home” orders and concerns about the virus, I realized that I had spent over 4 weeks on Cedar Key without leaving the island. It was time. However, I didn’t want to go shopping, I just wanted to get out. I had heard that the Lower Suwannee Wildlife Refuge was one of the places that was still open to the public. So, I got my husband Ron to be my chauffeur and headed off to the Refuge with my cameras.
We decided to stop at the Shell Mound on the way. When we got there, it was packed with cars, trucks and boat trailers. Not a parking spot to be had. We did an immediate U-turn and headed to the quiet of the loop road.
I had a project that I was working on for a friend and needed to get some landscape images. I wanted to portray the feeling you get when you visit our wonderful area. There are several different terrains in the Refuge from pine forests, to tidal creeks, cypress swamps, and the Suwannee River itself.
My focus was not on wildlife this trip, but wildlife “happens” when you take this drive. There were lots of turtles and baby gators in the ditches along the road. Dragonflies by the hundreds buzzed around the truck. A great egret flew down the road in front of us for about a half mile. We saw two piliated woodpeckers and I found a five-stripped skink. There was a racoon meandering through the cypress trees. Some of the bigger ponds along the road had larger alligators in them. One even lifted his head and smiled at me when I took his picture. Another pond had one each of a great blue heron, great egret, snowy egret, little blue heron and tricolored heron. Oh, and there were lots of different flowers to be seen on the roadsides too.
We drove slowly along the loop road stopping here and there so I could take photographs. We went to the McCormick Creek launch area because I love the way the road just nose-dives right into the water at the end. I think we saw three cars the whole trip. Then we went to the headquarters area and walked the trail to the Suwannee River. We sat on the bench overlooking the river and just enjoyed the peace.
I came home with a whole bunch of photographs to sort through. It was a delightful morning spent in a perfect location. I am so glad that we have this place and that it is still open for us to visit.
The Refuge is open daily from dawn to dusk.
Due to coronavirus concerns, the headquarters building is closed to visitors. However, staff are working as usual and the Refuge is open for appropriate recreational uses including boating, hiking, fishing, biking, and birding.
The Refuge Manager Andrew Gude can be reached by text or phone at 703.622.3896.
Hunting Information from the Refuge Manager
The print version of the 2019-2020 Hunt Regulations Brochure is now available at Refuge headquarters. For a digital version,
click on the photo below.
For Information about getting a Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge Hunt Permit and a Deer Bag Report, Click Here
To Apply for a Permit to Hunt on the Lower Suwannee Refuge,
For a copy of the Deer Harvest Log, Click Here
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