Refuge re-opens auto tour route to Lake Drummond

Published 10:32 pm Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Officials at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge have announced the reopening of the Railroad Ditch entrance for auto day passes to Lake Drummond.

The free passes will be available on business days beginning Monday, Dec. 22, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the refuge headquarters located at 3100 Desert Road, Suffolk. The office is open Monday through Friday, and closed on weekends and on federal holidays.

The pass allows auto access through the gated Railroad Ditch entrance, also located on Desert Road. The route includes a six-mile gravel road passage through refuge habitat and concludes at Lake Drummond. The lake is the larger of only two natural lakes found in Virginia, and is popular in the winter because of the visit of large numbers of snow geese and tundra swan, said refuge officials.

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“The popular auto pass has not been available for the past two years due to habitat management activities in the corridor and to this year’s large wildfire,” said Deloras Freeman, visitor services specialist. “We are happy to again offer access to those folks that are not able to reach the lake by hiking or biking one of our long trails. We expect the pass to be available daily, with only occasional closings when necessary due to safety or minor management activities. As in the past, it is always best to call on the day of your visit to assure access.”

The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is one of 548 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the system is the world’s premiere network of public lands and waters. The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

For more information, please contact the refuge headquarters at 986-3705 or visit them on the Web at