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Before you head out to any Arkansas wildlife refuge, you must first have a permit. Below you will find links to the permits for several major refuges, as well as a wealth of information on each Arkansas WMA/NWR.
White River National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 for the protection of migratory birds. This Arkansas WMA lies in the floodplain of the White River near where it meets the mighty Mississippi River. Long and narrow, three to ten miles wide and almost ninety miles long, the refuge is one of the largest remaining bottomland hardwood forests in the Mississippi River Valley. The wildlife refuge’s fertile forests and three hundred lakes are interlaced with streams, sloughs, and bayous. The result is a haven for a myriad of native wildlife and migratory birds.
Cache River National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1986 to protect significant wetland habitats and provide feeding and resting areas for migrating waterfowl.
As one of the few remaining areas in the Lower Mississippi River Valley not drastically altered by channelization and drainage, the Cache River basin contains a variety of wetland communities including some of the most intact and least disturbed bottomland hardwood forests in the Mississippi Valley region. These unique and valuable wetlands have been protected by the RAMSAR Convention as “Wetlands of International Importance”.
At present the refuge currently encompasses over 56,000 acres located in numerous non-contiguous tracts in Jackson, Woodruff, Monroe and Prairie counties in east central Arkansas. The boundary of this refuge changes frequently as land acquisition continues along the Cache River, White River and Bayou Deview.
Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in 1993 to protect and provide feeding and resting areas for migrating waterfowl. Acquired as part of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, this refuge provides a winter home for large concentrations of a number of species of ducks and geese, although it was purchased specifically for pintail management due to its identification as a major staging and wintering area for this prairie species.
Bald Knob NWR encompasses approximately 15,000 acres of forested wetlands and croplands. Lying along the Little Red River and adjacent to the Henry Gray/ Hurricane Lake State Wildlife Management Area this refuge is an important link in protecting wildlife and its habitat.
Big Lake NWR was established in 1915 to provide habitat and protection for migrating and wintering birds and is recognized as an important link in the Mississippi migration corridor. Over the years the objectives of the refuge have expanded to include protection for endangered species. Big Lake was important in the recovery of the bald eagle from its endangered status. Eagles came back to nest on the refuge in 1989 and have annually raised young since 1993. Also, since most of the bottomland hardwood forests have disappeared, it has become more important to preserve and restore this habitat for the wide variety of wildlife it supports.
Wapanocca NWR located 20 miles northwest of Memphis, Tennessee, in Crittenden County, Arkansas was established in 1961 to provided habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl. The refuge is located four miles west of the Mississippi River and protected from the river by the river levee. Prior to establishment of the refuge, it was the site of the Wapanocca Outing Club which was formed in 1886. This was one of the oldest and most prestigious hunting clubs. The club managed for waterfowl and most of the lake was set aside as a waterfowl sanctuary.
- Established: 1957.
- Acres: 7,057 (fee ownership of 6,616 acres and management of 441 acres included in a migratory bird closure area around the Arkansas WMA).
- Located in Pope and Yell counties, AR.
- Location: This Arkansas wildlife refuge is located 6 miles south of Dardanelle, Arkansas, just off of State Highway 155 east. The headquarters of this Arkansas WMAis located on the refuge.