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Wheeler Wildlife Refuge, Decatur

4.8
#1 of 15 in Things to do in Decatur
The Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge is a 35,000 acre National Wildlife Refuge located along the Tennessee River near Decatur, Alabama. Named after Major General Joseph Wheeler, it was established to provide a habitat for wintering and migrating birds in the eastern United States.
Of the 35,000 acres of the refuge, about 4,085 acres are located within Redstone Arsenal. Approximately 1,500 acres of the Redstone Arsenal land is administered by the Marshall Space Flight Center. The facility has a sixteen-person staff with a $1,694,000 annual budget.
Wheeler NWR is charged with the administration of four other National Wildlife Refuges including Fern Cave, Key Cave, Sauta Cave, and the Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge. Until recently, Wheeler NWR also administered the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge .
In 1934, the Tennessee Valley Authority began purchasing land as a bed for and buffer strip for Wheeler Reservoir. By 1936, the Tennessee River was impounded for flood control with the nearby Wheeler Dam providing hydroelectric power.
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Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
142 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • My wife and I enjoy coming here in the winter when the waterfowl migrate here. We were here the first week of February and the birds had already started to leave. We were told about 2/3 of the sandhil...  more »
  • We went to Wheeler the week after the Festival of Cranes which is the big event for the refuge, This year there weren't as many cranes as last year, but that is nature. We did see at least 33 varietie...  more »
  • What a special place! We came to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge for the annual Festival of the Cranes, and there were many activities aside from wildlife viewing. The visitor’s center had many taxid...  more »
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