- WILDLIFE VIEWING
Block Island National Wildlife Refuge, RI
Fish and Wildlife Service
Located approximately 12 miles offshore on picturesque Block Island, this small refuge provides important habitat for wildlife, and a place for people to appreciate the natural environment of the island. The refuge was established in 1973 with the transfer of 28 acres from the U.S. Coast Guard, and has grown to it's current size of 127 acres today. Block Island National Wildlife Refuge is administered as part of the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which manages all five of the National Wildlife Refuges in Rhode Island, and is headquartered in Charlestown, Rhode Island. The new Kettle Pond Visitor Center and headquarters located in Charlestown, RI,which opened in October 2005, celebrates the John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge and all of the other refuges in Rhode Island. This facility contains interactive exhibits, displays, a sales area, classrooms for speciel events, and knowledgeable people where visitors can come and explore the refuges and learn about the wildlife resources and coastal environments of each refuge. Refuge lands on Block Island are most notable for the large concentration (over 70 species) of migratory songbirds which visit the area each fall. Located in the Atlantic flyway, many young, inexperienced songbirds "overfly" the mainland and stopover on Block Island before continuing their migration. The result is a cornucopia of young migratory songbirds from a variety of different species. Block Island is internationally recognized as one of the most important migratory bird habitats on the east Coast, attracting hundreds of "birders" to the Island each fall. The refuge also provides habitat for the Endangered American Burying Beetle, supporting the only population of this species known East of the Mississippi River. Piping plover occur on the Island (a threatened Species) as do four other State species of concern. The refuge is also home to the largest gull colony in Rhode Island.
Directions:In Narragansett, Rhode Island you can catch the Block Island ferry from Point Judith on route 108. Call ahead for reservations, particularly if you are bringing a vehicle. The refuge is located on the North End of Block Island. From the ferry terminal on Block Island, turn right. At the first stop sign turn right onto Corn Neck Road. Continue to its end, and from the parking lot, walk the beaches of the Refuge.