To: Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Area Lakes

Area Parks

Arkansas Recreation

Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Arkansas

Big Lake NWR was established in 1915 to provide habitat and protection for migrating and wintering birds and is recognized as an important link in the Mississippi migration corridor. Over the years the objectives of the refuge have expanded to include protection for endangered species. Big Lake was important in the recovery of the bald eagle from its endangered status. Eagles came back to nest on the refuge in 1989 and have annually raised young since 1993. Also, since most of the bottomland hardwood forests have disappeared, it has become more important to preserve and restore this habitat for the wide variety of wildlife it supports.

Once a free-flowing river system, Big Lake NWR was changed to a lake / swamp ecosystem by the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12. Big Lake today consists primarily of wooded swamps and open water. The lake is shallow with an average depth of three feet and is bordered by a virgin cypress-tupelo swamp with some black willow and buttonbush. Smartweed, American lotus and water lily characterize the herbaceous wetland plants. Tree species on higher ground include cottonwood, green ash, hackberry, red maple, sycamore, river birch and a variety of oaks.

Due to the fact that Big Lake NWR is an oasis of bottomland hardwood in an agriculturally developed area, 6,400 acres are designated as a National Natural Landmark and 2,100 acres of the Natural Landmark are included in the Wilderness Preservation System.

The refuge annually winters several species of waterfowl. Peak numbers in January and February can exceed 200,000. Wood ducks are year-round residents and annually raise approximately 2,500 young in natural cavities and nest boxes. Over 225 bird species have been observed on the refuge and recorded by visiting ornithologists. Other wildlife to look for are beavers, otters, raccoons, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, bobcat and the occasional armadillo.


Directions:Big Lake NWR is located in northeast Arkansas adjacent to the bootheel of Missouri. From Blytheville, travel west on State Highway 18 approximately 15 miles. From Jonesboro, travel east on State Highway 18 approximately 35 miles. Headquarters is located on the north side of the highway. Various directional signs are located along the route.



Fish and Wildlife Service
P.O. Box 67 Manila,  AR  72442 Phone: 870-564-2429 Email:

Recreation Articles

Teaching Your Boy the Game!
> author: John Peter Pero
Zen and the Art of Horseback Riding
> author: Phyllis Coletta
A1 Grand Prix Of Nations - The Car Specifications And A Few Interesting Facts
> author: Marvyn H
Baseball - The Good And The Bad
> author: Michael Russell
The Fishing Pontoon: A Popular Choice
> author: Anne Clarke
Why You Should Consider Online Golf Lessons?
> author: Alex Fir
5 Sure Fire Ways to Build a more Powerful and Pain-FREE Golf Game
> author: Troy Anderson
Wooden Fishing Boats - From Traditional Marsh Pirogues To Wide-Bottomed Drift Boats
> author: Rika Susan
We Learn from the Very Best... Enjoy Our Interview with Coach Bill Moores (Part I)
> author: Steffany Hanlen
Selecting the Right Tackle
> author: Brett Fogle

Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Recreation Opportunities
Fish Hatcheries
Wildlife Viewing
Previous     Next


Add an Event to LASR  
Add an Attraction to LASR
Add your Business to LASR

© Copyright 2013 LASR

Email LASR

Help promote these Travel Resources through Social Media
Social bookmarks