Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge

According to the web site for Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge, visitor resources are limited and the mosquito population is plentiful. But anyone with a camera, a fishing rod, a bicycle or a small boat should be able to amuse themselves endlessly in this vast and wild place, for as long as they can stand to be deprived of the comforts of civilization.

The 14,480-acre refuge is a composite of brackish marshland that occasionally floods, and some relatively solid ground comprised of pocosin and woodland habitat. Pocosin, in case you wondered, is a wetland or shrubby bog with acidic, sandy, peat soil. Here, you will find black needlerush, saltmarsh cordgrass, saltmeadow hay and saltgrass in the grass category, wax myrtle, gallbery, red bay, yaupon and fetterbush in the shrub category, and loblolly, live oak, longleaf and pond pines in the tree category.

It might not be the beachfront vacationland you have been dreaming of, but ducks love it. Thousands of them flock here year-round, and so do a lot of other types of migratory waterfowl. In the duck category, it is redhead, surf scoter, bufflehead, mergansers, scaup, ruddy, canvasback, black and wood. With a strong pair of binoculars, there’s a chance of seeing black skimmer, Forester’s tern, glossy ibis, great egret, gull-billed tern, herring gull, laughing gull, little blue heron, snowy egret, common tern and tricolored heron. And, they are all eating those mosquitoes as fast as they can.

The Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge is one of 500 refuges nationwide managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. An abandoned U.S. Navy radar station serves as the field office and controlled burns are the standard forest management practice. This refuge is managed through the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge.