Patuxent Research Refuge
Patuxent Research Refuge is one of over 540 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The National Wildlife Refuge System is the world’s largest network of lands and waters dedicated to protecting wildlife and their habitat.
Established in 1936 by executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Patuxent Research Refuge is the Nation's only National Wildlife Refuge established to support wildlife research. Today most of the research on the refuge is conducted by the US Geological Survey (USGS) through the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.
With land surrounding the Patuxent and Little Patuxent Rivers between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD, the Refuge has grown from the original 2,670 acres to its present size of 12,841 acres and encompasses land formerly managed by the Departments of Agriculture and Defense. Throughout decades of change, Patuxent's mission of conserving and protecting the nation's wildlife and habitat through research and wildlife management techniques has remained virtually unchanged.
Patuxent Research Refuge is divided into three areas: 1) North Tract, which offers hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, trails, and many interpretive programs; 2) Central Tract, where the offices and study sites of the many research biologists are located at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; and 3) South Tract, where the National Wildlife Visitor Center and its trails are located. The National Wildlife Visitor Center and North Tract are the only areas open for visitor activities.
A small park. It has a visitor center, but the majority of the space is not designed for public use. There are a small number of trails around a small lake with a large amount of waterfowl. The visitor center has some nice displays, but they haven't been updated in many years. I would say the highlight is if you manage to catch one of the times the small birds of prey are being displayed. As for the trails. They are mostly flight and easy, nothing to challenge a hiker. But if you are looking for a quiet walk, it is a welcome quiet refuge close to DC.
This is a wonderful and spacious park with an amazing interactive wildlife center. There are walking trails that are easy to walk and traverse several different views and settings, fields, woods, plateau, marsh, and woods. A great place to go for a short nature walk, a Family afternoon, or a quiet meditative walk. Hiking shoes or boots recommended. Trails are not stroller friendly. Staff is very courteous and facility is very clean and well maintained. When my family and I went several displays were out of service for maintenance. But in the past this was not always the case. Five stars for sure.
Hiking through the trails here does my heart good. Reminds me of hiking back in the day. A couple of my favorite memories include hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and hiking through the Olympic Peninsula Rain Forests in Washington State. Hiking here with my dog is not only good exercise, it adds treasured memories to my collection.
Excellent place to fish. Hunting grounds are well separated and marked. Perfect place for any bird watcher... I was fortunate enough to see a Bald Eagle swooping for lunch along Cash Lake.
This is a great place. Various distance walks although some in the woods can be muddy after rain. Nice visitor centre too.
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