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Massachusetts > Massachusetts Wildlife Refuges > Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
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Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
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General Information

Description - Just twenty miles west of Boston lies an oasis for wildlife - Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Roughly 85 percent of the refuge's more than 3,600 acres is comprised of valuable freshwater wetlands stretching along 12 miles of the Concord and Sudbury Rivers. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protects and manages Great Meadows as nesting, resting, and feeding habitat for wildlife, with special emphasis on migratory birds. The diversity of plant and animal life visible from refuge trails provides visitors with excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing and nature study.

Attractions - Well known for its birdwatching opportunities, the public can also enjoy a variety of other wildlife-dependent recreational activities while visiting the refuge. Refuge landscapes inspired the thoughts of such storied environmental philosophers as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. More than a century and a half later, summer recreationists sun themselves along the shores of nearby Walden Pond--now protected as a state park. Paddling through the refuge along the Concord River, canoeists may pass below the Old North Bridge--the site of America's birth that is now managed by Minute Man National Historical Park.

Recreation - The Refuge consists of freshwater marsh and riverine habitat and associated wetlands located along 12 miles of the Concord and Sudbury rivers. It is managed primarily for migratory waterfowl. There is an extensive public use program. Recreation oppertunities include; fishing, hiking, interpretive programs, and a visitor center.

Climate - Massachusetts experiences four distinct seasons with slightly varying temperatures in the inland and coastal regions. Along the coast the water is a moderating factor that often prevents large amounts of snowfall from accumulating through the winter. Summer temperatures are usually cooler than low lying inland areas, due to ocean breezes. This region of the country experiences high humidity in the summer season and temperatures that average close to 80 degrees F. Fall and Spring are pleasant times to visit the region with crisp air and low humidity. Brilliant foliage colors can be found in the central and western regions of the state in late September and October. Winter temperatures can be brutally cold on occasion with a humidity-filled wind, but on average winter daytime temperatures reach 35 degrees F and lows reach into the teens. Spring is usually the wettest time of year, but trees, bushes and flowers are blooming by early May.

Location - From the Southwest: Follow Route 20 East to Sudbury. At a traffic light turn left onto Union Avenue. Merge onto Concord Road at a stop sign and continue across Route 27 (1 mile). Continue to Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School (1.7 miles), and turn right onto Lincoln Road. Continue to the Great Meadows NWR sign on the left (1.4 miles). Turn left onto Weir Hill Road and follow signs to visitor center and headquarters.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly

Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: this is a great place for bird watchers and its a great place to just take a walk. the trails circle around the marsh, making it ideal.. lots of red winged black birds, heron, yellowbirds... I've seen other animals as well... turtles, frogs, snakes. I used to enjoy riding my mountain bike through this public park, but it is now prohibited.

More Information

Contact Information:
Great Meadows NWR, Weir Hill Rd , Sudbury, MA, 01776, Phone: 978-443-4661
, r5rw_gmnwr@fws.gov

Additional Information:
Massachusetts Wildlife Refuges -


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