EXPERIENCE THE AREA'S WILDLIFE VIEWING AREAS
NATURE CENTER'S 50-FOOT VIEWING DECK
The Center offers a 50-foot viewing deck overlooking the Mississippi River and Lock & Dam 4. Spotting scopes and binoculars are available for your use where you can view eagles, a variety of waterfowl & birdlife, as well as the activity on the Great Alma Fishing Float.
GREAT WISCONSIN BIRDING & NATURE TRAIL
The Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail is a mapped auto trail that reaches into every area of Wisconsin, including Buffalo County. Full-color viewing guides with maps and descriptions of every site leads the nature traveler to warblers, shorebirds, eagles, loons, cranes and all manner of mammals found in some of the state's premier wildlife venues. Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative Birding Guides
DRIVING THE BACK ROADS OF BUFFALO COUNTY
Throughout the year, driving the back roads of Buffalo County, Wisconsin can be a rewarding experience for viewing wildlife and birding. Western Buffalo County is ranked 17th among the top 50 birding spots in Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. The wild turkey population is thriving since its reintroduction to Wisconsin in 1976 and it's not unusual as you drive the backroads to encounter a few turkeys.
RIECK'S LAKE PARK
Two miles north of Alma is Rieck's Lake Park offering two wildlife observation decks, camping and open-roofed shelters for family gatherings. Rieck's Lake has often been a favorite for tundra swans along the Mississippi River Flyway as they migrate in the fall and spring. Contact Tundra Swan Watch for information by calling (608) 685-4249 during swan season (late October to early November) for an update on swan activity.
TIFFANY BOTTOMS STATE NATURAL AREA
Located 16 miles north of Alma is Tiffany Bottoms State Natural Area, a small portion of the most extensive river delta in the Midwest containing a representative portion of the larger Tiffany Bottoms floodplain forest. The Bottoms abound in wildlife and contain rare and uncommon birds such as red-shouldered hawk, great egret, cerulean warbler, prothonotory warbler, great-blue heron, pileated woodpecker, and blue-gray gnatcatcher. Tiffany Bottoms is owned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and was designated a State Natural Area in 1958. It is also included as part of the recent designation of the Upper Mississippi River as a Wetland of International Importance.
BIG SWAMP WILDLIFE AREA
Big Swamp Wildlife Area is an 844 acre property in Buffalo County. Find it 5 Miles west of Mondovi south of Hwy 10 and approximately 25 miles from Alma. Currently access is only available from County Hwy A on the south side of the property. The property consists of upland hardwoods and marsh. Big Swamp Wildlife Area is owned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Acquisition began on the property in 1956 with the goal of protecting winter pheasant cover for pheasants and has since grown to 844 acres in size. Management on the property is limited as much of the acreage consists of tamarack swamp and lowlands, although there is a mix of upland hardwoods on the property. The property is surrounded by private lands so it is important that users know and respect the property boundaries.
MERRICK STATE PARK
Located along the lazy Mississippi River north of Fountain City and about 10 miles from Alma, the 322-acre Merrick State Park is popular with anglers and boaters. The marshy backwaters are home for egrets, herons, muskrats and otters. Merrick State Park is owned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and has been a park since 1919 when the land was donated. It is also included as part of the recent designation of the Upper Mississippi River as a Wetland of International Importance.
|Mallard - Reicks Lake||
Whitetail Fawn - Courtsey of WI DNR
WHITMAN DAM WILDLIFE AREA
Whitman Dam Wildlife Area is a 2253 acre property in Buffalo County. Find it 3 Miles southeast of Cochrane across the main river channel from Merrick State Park. Access available from Merrick State Park or at the end of Whitman Dam Road west of Kamrowski road. The property consists of floodplain forest and marshland. Whitman Dam Wildlife Area was established in 1965 from land donated to the state of Wisconsin for Merrick State Park in 1919. It is also included as part of the recent designation of the Upper Mississippi River as a Wetland of International Importance.
UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER NATIONAL WILDLIFE & FISH REFUGE
This 261 mile Refuge was established by an Act of Congress on June 7, 1924, "as a refuge and breeding place for migratory birds, fish, other wildlife, and plants." The north end begins at the confluence of the Mississippi and Chippewa rivers near Wabasha, Minnesota and the south end is near Rock Island, Illinois. Just over 240,000 acres of wooded islands, marshes, and backwaters comprise the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge. Created on June 7, 1924, the Refuge is celebrating its 85th anniversary and the idea and dream of the Refuge still lives. The 240,000 acre refuge winding through 4 states for 261 miles provides a home for hundreds of species of fish, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and native plants. It is a place where the rare and uncommon seem common place. Just days before its 85th anniversary, the Refuge was included as part of the recent designation of the Upper Mississippi River as a Wetland of International Importance.