The Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge is located in both Anson and RichmondCounties in south-central North Carolina, just six miles north of Wadesboro.Situated in the TriassicBasin of the lower piedmont, the refuge’s 8443 acres of rolling hills covered with pines and hardwoods gently slope to the broad flood plain of the Pee DeeRiver.
ENJOYING THE REFUGE
The public is welcome to visit the refuge any time of the year from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset.Some areas may be closed by the refuge manager for specific refuge activities.Visitor Services include hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, observation towers, photography, trails/hiking, education and interpretation.Maps of the reserve are available at the Reserve Office.The Reserve also offers several activities during the year for bird watchers, hunters and fishing.Contact them directly or visit their website for their calendar of special events.
PUBLIC USE OPPORTUNITIES
Three hiking trails are available for daily use.The Tall Pines Nature Trail (1/2-mile) and Brown Creek Nature Trail (1/4-mile) are accessible from the Wildlife Drive.The GaddyCovered Bridge Nature Trail includes two 1/4-mile segments accessible from One Way Road.The Reserve also has several miles of driving/biking trails available for observation of wildlife.
Fishing is open from March 15 to October 15 on several ponds, Brown Creek and the Pee DeeRiver.Sullivan Pond and Little Pond are open for fishing year round.Boat ramps are provided at Andrews Pond, Beaver Pond and ArrowheadLake.All other fishing areas are open to boats, but boats must be loaded and unloaded by hand.No gasoline motors are allowed.Fishing is allowed seven days a week from one hour before sunset until one hour after sunset.(Consult refuge fishing regulations for more details.)
WILDLIFE HABITATS ON THE REFUGE
The variety of habitats on the refuge supports a diversity of wildlife species.Peak populations of waterfowl in the fall and winter can exceed 10,000 birds, with the majority being mallards, green-winged teal and wood ducks.Other ducks often seen are wigeon, pintail, gadwall, ring-necked and black ducks.Several hundred of the migrant Southern James Bay Canada geese still use the refuge, as well as a growing flock of resident Canada geese.Other than ducks and geese, the refuge is a stopping point or destination each year for snipe, woodcock, hawks, owls, herons and egrets.The Southern Bald Eagle is commonly seen near the refuge building nests along the Pee DeeRiver.
The refuge bird list contains 188 species found with varying regularity, including 92 breeding /probable breeding species.The refuge is also home to many mammal species including the white-tailed deer, red and gray fox, bobcat, beaver, gray and fox squirrel, and Eastern cottontail rabbit.The refuge waters are also full of fish such as catfish, largemouth bass, and redear sunfish.
The Pee Dee refuge is close to the once famous “Lockhart Gaddy’s Wild Goose Refuse,” located in Ansonville, North Carolina.Lockhart Gaddy, a one-time avid goose hunter, turned friend of the geese in the fall of 1934.Using his four live decoys to attract the wild geese to his one acre pond, Mr. Gaddy was both surprised and delighted to see his decoys attract nine wild Canada geese.This was the beginning of the “Gaddy’s Goose Pond”, as it is known today.By the early 1950’s, the flock had grown to an estimated 10,000 Canada geese and 1,000 wild ducks spending the winter at the worlds most unusual goose refuge.Visitors from 47 states and 11 foreign countries signed the guest book in 1952.The tradition continued each year from 1934 with the first birds arriving each October, flying with the full moon, and departing in mid-March.The Gaddy Goose Pond was closed to the public in 1975 after the deaths of both Mr. and Mrs. Gaddy.The pond currently remains closed to the public.
In the 1960’s numbers of both geese and ducks began to decline in south-central North Carolina.Fortunately, lands adjacent to the Pee DeeRiver and Brown Creek offered excellent potential for waterfowl habitat development.With local and state support, the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge was established in October 1963 to provide wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl.