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Discover the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge

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Through the the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the 35,000-acre wildlife refuge is a forest.
Racoon at Piedmont National Wildlife RefugeIt hosts loblolly pines on ridges with hardwoods found alongcreek bottoms and in scattered upland coves. Clear streams and beaver ponds provide ideal wetlands for migrating waterfowl. Wildlife populations have been restored, many in greater numbers than when settlers first arrived. Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge now serves as a model of forest ecosystem management for wildlife.

Old Trees and Woodpeckers The redcockaded woodpecker, a native bird of the southern U.S., is an endangered species because the old growth pine forests it requires for nesting have been logged throughout most of it’s range. The red-cockaded woodpecker excavates cavities into living pine trees and drills resin wells around the cavity. The flowing resin from these wells is thought to deter predators, such as snakes, from climbing the tree and destroying the nest.

An unusual aspect of this bird’s behavior is that it nests in family groups or clans. Male offspring from the previous year often remain to help feed the new nestlings. The refuge pine forest provides the old trees and other habitat needs of this endangered species.

Protected Home for Many Birds The rich diversity of habitats provides a haven for nearly 200 species of birds.
In the forests, birds commonly seen include woodpeckers, warblers, flycatchers, brown-headed nuthatches and chickadees. Wood ducks, great blue herons, and belted kingfishers may be found near wetlands. In open areas, look for hawks, bluebirds and the ever alert wild turkey.
Duck at Piedmont National Wildlife RefugeCreatures of the Night
Most mammals living on Piedmont remain hidden during the day and are active at night. However, whitetail deer, fox squirrels and gray squirrels often forage during daylight hours. Feeding by the light of the moon are opossums, bats, beavers, foxes, coyotes, raccoons and bobcats.

Managing for Wildlife The pine forests are managed in even-aged stands to provide a diversity of wildlife habitat and to ensure a continuous replacement of old growth pine for the red-cockaded woodpecker and other wildlife needing older forests. These stands are interspersed throughout the refuge in a jigsaw puzzle fashion to provide a rich mixture of forest habitats.

Prescribed burning and timber thinning are used to encourage growth of food plants in the pine forest. Hardwood stands provide excellent habitat for neotropical birds, turkeys, squirrels and other woodland wildlife. Open fields are maintained by mowing, burning, and planting grasses and other plants. These openings are important feeding and nesting areas for many species of birds and mammals.

Numerous clear flowing creeks and beaver ponds provide wetlands which are used by waterfowl and other wildlife. In addition, eleven ponds are managed for wildlife and fish. Wood duck boxes have been placed around these ponds to provide nesting structures for this colorful duck.

Free admission and parking.

Amenities: Parking, Public Restrooms, Accessibility for mobility-impaired.
Egret at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge
The Piedmont Visitor Center contains exhibits describing refuge wildlife and habitats.
Hiking on Piedmont Refuge is enjoyable throughout the year.

A 1.5 mile loop trail leavesthe visitor center and passes through rich pine and bottomland hardwood forests to connect with Allison Lake trail. The one mile Allison Lake Trail provides viewing opportunities for wintering waterfowl along the lake. An interpretive leaflet is available. The red-cockaded woodpecker trail is 2.5 miles and passes through a colony site. The best time to view these endangered birds is during the nesting season in May and June.

Note: Ticks and chiggers are present thoroughout the year and are especially bad in the summer and early fall. Use a strong repellent.
The Little Rock Wildlife Drive provides an overview of refuge history, habitats and management programs. A self-guiding brochure is available to interpret highlights along the 6-mile gravel road. Little Rock Wildlife Drive is open year-round during daylight hours except during deer gun hunts.
Wildlife Observation and Photography - Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to observe and photograph wildlife. The refuge is open daily during daylight hours. A photography and observation blind is located along the Allison Lake Trail. A checklist for birds is available.

Spring bird migration occurs during late March and April and fall migration peaks in September and October. December through January are the best months to see waterfowl.
Environmental Education Programs and Tours are available to organized school, civic, professional and conservation groups. Advanced reservations are required for all programs and can be made by phoning the refuge at (912)986-5441.
Trail at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge
Hunting - Certain resident game species may be hunted with refuge hunt permits. Turkey and deer gun hunts are by quota drawing only. Contact the refuge for special seasons, regulations and permits.
Fishing is allowed in certain refuge ponds from May through September. During this time, boats with trolling motors are allowed in Allison Lake and Pond 2A only. A children-only fishing pond is located along the Little Rock Wildlife Drive. Consult refuge fishing regulations for locations of ponds open for fishing.
Pets on leash under close supervision are permitted.
Visitors with Disabilities - Access difficulty varies by area and activity. Consult the Refuge Manager for suggestions for visiting the refuge safely.
Firearms are permitted only during refuge hunts in areas open to hunting.
Camping and open fires are permitted only in conjunction with refuge big game hunts in the designated campground with permit.
Litter - Take pride in your refuge by taking your litter home.
Open Refuge is open during Daylight hours. Visitor Center is open Monday - Friday 8 am - 5 pm.
Contact - Address & Website
Phone: 478-986-5441 – Address: 718 Juliette Rd., Hillsboro, GA 31038 - Directions: Piedmont is located in central Georgia, approximately 25 miles north of Macon and 18 miles east of Forsyth. The refuge may be visited by exiting I-75 at Exit 186 in Forsyth and driving east along Juliette Road for 18 miles to the refuge office and visitor center. An alternate route is State Highway 11, between Gray and Monticello. Just north of Round Oak on Hwy 11, turn west on Juliette Road and proceed for 3 miles to the office/visitor center. - Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge Website and Map


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