Named after one of the original chiefs of the Narragansett Indians, the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge is located on the Southern Coast of Rhode Island in the Town of Charlestown, Washington County.
Perched on the shoreline of the largest saltpond in the State, the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge sits upon the glacial outwash plain of the Charlestown moraine, providing the refuge with its unique character.
The wildlife present is as diverse as the vegetation which occupies the land. Over 250 bird species visit seasonally, and 70 species nest on the property, making bird watching and photography popular refuge activities. From saltmarshes, kettle ponds, freshwater wetlands, maritime shrublands and forests dominated by oak or maple, habitat is varied and plentiful.
Originally being used as a Naval Auxiliary landing field during world war II, the main portion of the refuge still contains remnants of the numerous runways, taxi-ways, and buildings which supported the war effort. Many people served their country here, with this rich history celebrated in an interpretive "trails through time" route which passes through the refuge.
Ninigret, along with the four other National Wildlife Refuges in the State are administered by the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex, headquartered in Charlestown, RI.
On the refuge, the new Kettle Pond Visitor Center and headquarters, which opened in October 2005, celebrates the Ninigret Refuge and all of the other refuges in Rhode Island. This facility contains interactive exhibits, displays, a sales area, classrooms for special events, and knowledgeable people where visitors can come and explore the refuges and learn about the wildlife resources and coastal environments of each refuge.