The gates at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge will once again open to the public on Saturday, March 5, 2022, at 6 am.
The Refuge is closed annually from late October to the first Saturday of March to allow for undisturbed habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl. Once spring arrives the place becomes a Refuge for people as well as wildlife. Whether it’s fishing, bird watching, a relaxing drive, or a hike through the woods, Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a place for everyone to enjoy. There is an abundance of outdoor public use opportunities at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
The 2,000 acre Silver Lake is open to fishing and the Auto Tour Route provides for a relaxing drive. There are also plenty of hiking opportunities available, as the entire refuge is open to foot traffic during this time. Additionally, there is a nature trail by the old Visitor Center with a nice overlook and scopes near the Swan Lake marsh. The refuge is open to antler shed hunting, mushroom, and berry picking for personal use.
At this time there are great wildlife viewing opportunities as there are hundreds up to sometimes a few thousand Trumpeter Swans on the refuge and snow goose numbers can reach in the hundreds of thousands this time of year. March and early April are good times to view lots of different species of waterfowl that are migrating back north for the summer. Early morning or late evening drive through the refuge is a good time to see whitetail deer. Mid-April through May provides great viewing opportunities in habitat mudflat areas for the many species of shorebirds that stopover at Swan Lake NWR on the migration routes. Due to Covid restrictions, the Visitor Center is closed with only the main office open and limited capacity.
Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located one mile south of Sumner, Missouri, and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 548 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices, and 81 ecological services field stations.
The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.