Wapack National Wildlife Refuge
A winter view at Wapack National Wildlife Refuge
Wapack National Wildlife Refuge was a 1,672-acre donation to the US Fish & Wildlife Service. The terms of the deed donating the property require that the property be managed as though it is a designated wilderness: no trapping, hunting, fishing, mechanized/motorized vehicles or tree cutting allowed. So the primary "management" that occurs here consists of maintaining the agreement in place with the Friends of the Wapack, who also maintain the whole of the 21-mile Wapack Trail (of which 3 miles are on Wapack NWR). The Wapack Trail is a spur of the Appalachian Trail that gives users some great views of the mountains in a less-traveled part of New Hampshire.
Wapack National Wildlife Refuge seems to be popular with crossbills, magnolia warblers, white-throated sparrows, pine grosbeaks, tree sparrows, Swainson's thrushes and various other migratory songbirds. The refuge is also a regular stop on certain hawk migration routes. On the ground you might see deer, coyote, fisher, black bear, mink, fox and weasel.
To get there: easiest route is from the parking lot off Route 101 at Miller State Park (southeast of Peterborough). But if you can find your way to Old Mountain Road, that runs along the northern edge of Wapack NWR and crosses the Wapack Trail along the way. The Friends of the Wapack publish a trail guide and sometimes offer guided hikes in the area. Camping and campfires are not allowed on the property. The trail is open 365 days a year, from sunrise to sunset. There are no fees involved.