Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
The red-cockaded woodpecker, a small resident bird, is an endangered species. This woodpecker prefers open, park-like timber stands where it drills nesting cavities in mature pine trees. In these upland areas, trees with cavities are marked with white bands. Artificial nest inserts are placed in mature pine trees to supplement natural cavity trees and to encourage establishment of new colonies. Forest management practices, such as selective cutting and intensive prescribed burning, are the primary management tools used to improve and maintain a home for this endangered bird.
Felsenthal Refuge is home to bald eagles during the winter as these magnificent birds follow waterfowl down the flyway. In the future, these birds may begin nesting here since the Felsenthal Pool has created what appears to be optimum habitat.
Felsenthal NWR is on the northern edge of the American alligator's range. Although no longer on the endangered list, this ancient reptile is still considered threatened in Arkansas. This resident makes its home in the thousands of acres of shallow water wetlands. Alligators have been known to nest on the refuge.
Wetlands, uplands, bottomlands, creeks, rivers, sloughs and everything in between enables an abundance of wildlife to make Felsenthal their home. Wading birds, raptors, bobwhite quail, wild turkeys, mourning doves and mammals are readily seen in all seasons. Raccoons, skunks, rabbits, mink, river otter, gray and fox squirrels, opossum, gray and red foxes, coyotes and white-tail deer live in these wilds. Secretive bobcats and black bears, although seldom seen, are here. As a southern wetland forest community, the refuge also serves as home to an impressive array of reptiles, amphibians and insects. Four species of poisonous snakes inhabit the area along with the ticks, chiggers and mosquitos which can make a visit unpleasant for the unprepared.
Management activities within the refuge are designed to maintain and enhance the natural qualities of the area and provide optimum habitat for wildlife. Carefully timed flooding of hardwood forest communities, commonly referred to as green-tree reservoir management, provides thousands of acres of habitat for wintering waterfowl. Felsenthal NWR is home to the world's largest green-tree reservoir consisting of the 15,000 acre Felsenthal Pool that is more than doubled to 36,000 acres during winter-time flooding. Water level management in other impoundments, such as moist soil units, stimulates the growth of native wetland plant species and an abundance of insects, crustaceans and mollusks, all highly favored foods of migratory waterfowl, wading birds and shorebirds.
Forest management practices focus on providing excellent conditions for the variety of wildlife living in the forest. Prescribed burning, thinning, regeneration and stand improvement are some of the techniques used to enhance and maintain optimum habitat conditions. In addition, wetlands that had been cleared and converted to farmland by previous owners are being replanted to hardwoods.
There are a number of roads and trails located throughout the refuge and most are open year round. A refuge bird list, containing almost 300 species, is available. Check with the refuge staff prior to visiting since the entire area is subject to flooding.
Environmental Education/Group Tours
Environmental education is an important program on the refuge. Groups are welcome. Arrangements for programs may be made by calling the refuge office.
Camping is permitted in conjunction with other on-refuge wildlife related recreational activities. On-refuge camping is limited to ten designated primitive campgrounds (no facilities) located at strategic points throughout the refuge. There are two Class A campgrounds (Crossest Harbor RV Park and the Grand Marais Campground) adjacent to the refuge which provide full camping facilities including water, sewer and electricity.
Permitted only in camping areas and must be attended. Only downed wood may be used for fires. Caution: During periods of high fire danger, all fires may be prohibited.
Hunting of small game (squirrel, rabbits and quail), big game (deer and turkey) and waterfowl is permitted on designated areas during designated hunts. Contact the refuge office for regulations.
Permitted in most refuge waters throughout the year in accordance with state regulations. Blue gill, crappie, largemouth bass and catfish are the principal game fish species present in refuge waters. Contact the refuge headquarters for regulations.
Boat operation, in conjunction with other wildlife oriented activities, is permitted on most refuge waters in accordance with State regulations. Twelve boat ramps are available for visitor use.
Several wildlife interpretative trails are currently being developed. In addition, a 0.5 mile handicap accessible trail and fishing area is available at the refuge visitor center. Unimproved roads and ATV trails serve as popular pathways for hiking and wildlife observation which are permitted on most of the refuge throughout the year.
Auto touring and wildlife observation are encouraged. Vehicles are allowed throughout the year on designated roads only.
High-flotation all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) such as four-wheelers and "Hustlers" are allowed only on designated ATV trails strategically located in some of the more remote portions of the 100-square mile refuge. ATV use is permitted on these trails only in conjunction with wildlife related activities.
Other Refuge Regulations
Firearms and archery tackle prohibited except during designated hunts.
Disturbing, feeding or collecting wildlife or plants is strictly prohibited.
Some parts of the refuge are closed to public entry November 20-January 31 of each year. These areas serve as sanctuaries for wintering waterfowl. These areas are signed as closed and also delineated on maps in refuge hunt brochures.
Pets on a leash are permitted.
Surface collecting or digging for archaeological, historical and/or Native American artifacts is prohibited.
Disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace (including operation of generators in campgrounds after 10 pm.), and interference with other visitors is strictly prohibited.
Consumption of alcoholic beverages in plain view is prohibited.
Refuge Manager Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge PO. Box 1157 Crossett, AR 71635 Phone: (501)364-3167This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. No date. Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Unpaginated.This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. No date. Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Unpaginated. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. http://www.npwrc.usgs.govfelinfo.htm (Version 22MAY98).