Name of Property: Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge - Salt Meadow Unit; 733 Old Clinton Road, Westbrook
Directions from I-95: Take Exit 64 off of I-95 and turn south on Rt 145. At the stop sign, take a left on Old Clinton Rd. The visitor parking area is about 1 mile up on the right.
Where to Park: Follow entrance road to designated parking area
Description: Connecticut's first National Wildlife Refuge. According to its website, the refuge was established "to protect feeding, nesting and resting habitat for migratory birds, to encourage natural diversity of fish and wildlife species and to provide environmental education opportunities for the public."
Also named an "Important Bird Area" by National Audubon Society; located along the Atlantic Flyway.
Features: Four hundred acres of salt marsh, forest, grassland and shrubland.
Maintained two-mile trail provides views of tidal wetlands as they flow out into Long Island Sound. Refuge is adjacent to the Menunketesuck River.
Also view stands of huge evergreens, impressive mountain laurels and grassy promenades on the trail.
Wildlife: Inhabitants include woodcock, bluebirds, tree swallows, wild turkeys and numerous species of butterflies and dragonflies, great egrets, glossy ibis, snowy egrets, belted kingfishers, endangered roseate terns and osprey, among others. Occasional visits from skunks, red foxes, coyotes and red-tailed hawks.
Regulations: No dogs, horses, kites, fishing, hunting, fires, camping, removal of plants and animals. No bicycles or other vehicles inside refuge.
Amenities: Informational signs along the trails provide details about wildlife and habitat.
Things to Note: Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge consists of 11 refuge units across 70 miles of Connecticut's coastline, from Westbrook to Greenwich.
The refuge hosts wildlife events at Salt Meadow Unit throughout the year, including many bird walks and bird-banding and birds of prey demonstrations.
www.fws.gov/northeast/mckinney; or call (860) 399-2513
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