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Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge

Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge is a more than 50,000-acre refuge on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula in Hyde County in eastern North Carolina.  Lake Mattamuskeet, the largest natural lake in North Carolina at 40,000 acres, is contained entirely within the refuge.  The primary function of the refuge is to provide habitat for migratory waterfowl, other birds, and some endangered species, such as the bald eagle.  Lake Mattamuskeet is a significant wintering habitat for large numbers of migratory waterfowl, including ducks, Canada geese, snow geese, and tundra swans.  Additionally, the refuge provides recreational and educational opportunities for the public.

Contact Information:

85 Mattamuskeet Road
Swan Quarter, NC 27885

Phone: (252) 926-4021
Fax: (252) 926-1743


The refuge is located nine miles east of Swan Quarter on US-264.


Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge is a great place for wildlife viewing and photography, especially in the winter when large populations of migratory waterfowl spend the cold months in Lake Mattamuskeet.  The wildlife is most active around sunrise and sunset, so early morning or late afternoon are the best times to visit.  The overlook on NC-94, roughly in the middle of Lake Mattamuskeet, is a great place to watch the sunrise over the lake.

From the south end of NC-94, Headquarters Road leads to the Visitor Center and the historic Mattamuskeet Lodge.  Along the way, the road passes by a wetland impoundment, actively managed by the refuge for the benefit of migratory waterfowl.  Water levels are controlled by pumps and water control structures, and food for waterfowl are actively grown, including wild millet, panic grasses, and spikerushes.  This causes a tremendous number of migratory birds to winter in the lake and surrounding wetlands.  An overlook on Headquarters Road provides a great view of the birds.

In addition to migratory waterfowl, the refuge is also home to a number of other birds, including wading birds, birds of prey, and scavengers.

Blog Entries:

30Nov2013: A Snowy Owl at Cape Hatteras

External Links:

US Fish & Wildlife Service website: http://www.fws.gov/mattamuskeet/