Stewart B. Mckinney National Wildlife Refuge

Fish and Wildlife Service, Connecticut.

Stewart B. McKinney NWR is comprised of ten different units that are stretched across Connecticut's shoreline. The headquarters is located approximately 45 minutes south of Hartford and 30 minutes east of New Haven in Westbrook, CT. Salt Meadow NWR was established in 1972 and redesignated by Congress as the Connecticut Coastal National Wildlife Refuge in 1984. The refuge was renamed in 1987 to honor the late U.S. Congressman Stewart B. McKinney, who was instrumental in its establishment. The ten units of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge span 70 miles of Connecticut coastline. Located in the Atlantic Flyway, the refuge provides important resting, feeding, and nesting habitat for many species of wading birds, shorebirds, songbirds and terns, including the endangered roseate tern. Adjacent waters serve as wintering habitat for brant, scoters, American black duck and other waterfowl. Overall, the refuge encompasses over 800 acres of barrier beach, tidal wetland and fragile island habitats. Salt Meadow Unit, in Westbrook, CT, and Falkner Island Unit, three miles off the coast of Guilford, CT, have both been designation as an "Important Bird Area" by the National Audubon Society. Falkner Island Unit is home to over 124 pairs of nesting Federally Endangered Roseate Terns and over 3000 nesting pairs of common terns. Salt Meadow Unit is used by over 280 species of migrating neotropical birds during the spring and fall migrations.

Nearby Activities


Salt Meadow Unit (Headquarters) 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. Outer Island Unit This unit is located in the Thimble Island Chain off the coast of Branford, CT. This unit must be accessed by ferry (from Stony Creek, CT) or by private vessel. Please check with the refuge for hours of visitation. Falkner Island Unit This unit is located three miles off the shore of Guilford, CT. This unit must be accessed by private vessel and is closed to public visitation except during the open house. Please contact the refuge for more information. Milford Point Unit This unit is located 14 miles SW of New Haven in Milford, CT. Take exit 34 off I-95. Turn left off the exit onto route 1 north. Take a right onto Lansdale Ave. and a right onto Milford Point Road to the Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center, where parking is available. Please drive slowly as speed limits are low in this area. The observation deck may be accessed by walking a short distance along the boardwalk, and then to the west along the shoreline. Please do not use the private road. Great Meadows Unit This unit is located off Lordship Boulevard (Route 113) in Stratford and is closed to public visitation until the educational trail is completed. Sheffield, Chimon, Goose and Peach Island Units These islands are located off the shore of Norwalk, CT and approximately 40 miles east of New York City. A ferry to Sheffield Island leaves from the Seaport Dock, located near the Maritime Aquarium. A private vessel must be used to reach Chimon Island Unit. Peach Island and Goose Island Units currently closed to public. Calf Island Unit This island is located off the coast of Greenwich, CT. A private vessel must be used to reach the Calf Island Unit.

Additional Information