4. Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, located in Hyde, Tyrell and Washington Counties in North Carolina, preserves a unique habitat known as a pocosin. “Pocosin” is an Algonquian Indian word meaning “swamp on a hill,” and is a type of wetland characterized by poorly drained soils high in organic material. The refuge is an excellent place to see black bears, raptors, and, in winter, migratory waterfowl. It is home to a population of endangered Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, and is also a reintroduction site for the endangered red wolf. Water control is a key tool for managing the pocosin habitat. Lakes, marshes, moist soil areas and open water provide feeding and resting areas for tundra swans, snow geese and a wide variety of ducks. Prescribed burning is another important tool used to manage the refuge. The refuge has a visitor center located in Columbia, North Carolina. Behind the visitor center is the Scuppernong River Interpretive Boardwalk, a three-quarter mile loop trail that meanders along the Scuppernong River, through a cypress swamp, and into downtown Columbia. The boardwalk is designated as a National Recreation Trail. Hunting for deer and small game is permitted at Pocosin Lakes. Contact the refuge for specific regulations. Fishing is also permitted. Primary species caught include black fish, black crappie, sunfish and catfish. Opportunities also exist for wildlife viewing and photography.