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State of Arkansas Parks

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USA Parks
Mississippi Valley Delta Region
Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge
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Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge Wapanocca Swamp © Jed Meeks
Taken just inside the main entrance after the turn. There were ducks but they flew off.
Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge Great Blue Heron © Jed Meeks
Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge Lake Wapanocca © Jed Meeks
The lake was drained a few years back. It is being restored back to its earlier glory as a fishery.
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178 Hammond Avenue at Hwy 42 East
Turrell, Arkansas   72384
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Wapanocca NWR located 20 miles northwest of Memphis, Tennessee, in Crittenden County, Arkansas was established in 1961 to provided habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl. The refuge is located four miles west of the Mississippi River and protected from the river by the river levee. Prior to establishment of the refuge, it was the site of the Wapanocca Outing Club which was formed in 1886. This was one of the oldest and most prestigious hunting clubs. The club managed for waterfowl and most of the lake was set aside as a waterfowl sanctuary.

Today the refuge literally stands as a wildlife oasis in an agricultural sea. An excellent diversity of habitat exists comprised on mainly agricultural land, bottomland hardwood forest, early stage reforested hardwoods, open water and flooded cypress/willow swamp. Thirty small field impoundments totaling 190 acres have been developed for waterfowl in the agricultural area. Because of its strategic location in the heart of the Mississippi Flyway and the diverse habitat, the refuge is a prime wintering area for migratory waterfowl and a major stopping place for migrating warblers. Bald eagles, great blue herons, great egrets and anhingas nest on the refuge.

Due to loss of the major water source for the 600 acre Wapanocca Lake, fisheries has declined from historical levels, but the lake is still a major attraction for waterfowl to this area.

Nature of the Area
The primary management focus on the refuge is to manage Wapanocca Lake, associated bottomland hardwood, and cleared agricultural lands to provide needed food and habitat for wintering migratory waterfowl and indigenous biological communities. Where possible reforestation of agricultural fields has taken place to reduce forest fragmentation to lessen predation on forest dwelling neotropical birds.

Water levels in impoundments are manipulated seasonally to benefit water birds, shorebirds, and waterfowl.

A total of 200 wood duck nesting boxes are maintained yearly to increase production. Wood ducks are banded during summer months to obtain much needed population data for this species.

Wapanocca Lake, former oxbow on the Mississippi River, is shallow and saucer shaped thus must be carefully managed to prevent destruction of surrounding bottomland forest. Formerly fed by Big Creek to the north, the lake is now land locked and dependent upon rainfall. This source is not normally sufficient to raise the water levels and flood surrounding bottomland hardwoods to benefit waterfowl. Alternative water sources are being explored to bring the lake back to its former productive condition for fisheries and waterfowl.


Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge is located near Marion, Memphis and Millington

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
March 20 Water Level -Wapanocca National by Donna_K_H
park review stars; one to five Every year , water is allowed to flow out of the park/lake. Why Please keep Wapanocca Lake water levels up. I enjoy this park sooo much but allowing the water to flow out into the main ditch at the park entrance is a shame.
January 3 alot of history in refuge by jalt
park review stars; one to five
June 6 Great Fishing Lake by bigred150
park review stars; one to five I have been fishing this Lake ever since I was a Kid. I am 47 now and the lake has seen its down falls. I will say that the lake is coming back. I went this past weekend and caught some nice bream. I am really impressed by the size of the bream. This lake is coming back. My hat is off to those who have worked so hard to bring this lake back for family enjoyment. On hot days you can get into the Cypress trees in the shade and stay out of the sun. Nice cool breeze blows through the Cypress Trees to make fishing comfortable. Bring plenty of crickets because you will need them.
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Area Campgrounds
Memphis KOA Journey
7037 Interstate 55
Marion, AR
Tom Sawyer's Mississippi River Park
1287 S 8th Street
West Memphis , AR
Nearby Hotels

From I-55 heading south, turn off at exit #23 (Turrell exit), travel southeast on Highway 77 two miles, turn east on Highway 42, go under the railroad overpass and turn right at the top of the hill (refuge entrance). From I-55 heading north, turn off at exit 21 (Highway 42), travel east 1 ? miles on Highway 42, cross Highway 77, go under the railroad overpass and turn right at the top of the hill (refuge entrance).

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State of Arkansas Parks