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Union Slough Auto Tour Route Opens July 15th
The Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge Auto Tour Route will be open from July 15th through September 20th this year. A culvert washout earlier this spring prevented the normal opening around International Migratory Bird Day in May. The washout has since been repaired and the Route’s normal August opening date will be moved up two weeks to make up for the public’s lost opportunity from this spring.
You may recall that last year sandhill cranes nested on the Refuge for the first time in over 100 years. The cranes came back to nest again this year and you may see the parents raising two “colts” near the bridge along the Route – particularly in the early morning. Visitors are welcome to drive the tour route from sunrise to sunset during the open dates. The auto tour route begins at the refuge office and takes visitors along a four and one-half mile drive of wetland, open water, and prairie habitat. Toward the beginning of the tour route, there is an observation platform with two spotting scopes overlooking a large
portion of the refuge. In addition to the cranes, a variety of wildlife can be seen along the route including duck broods, trumpeter swans, great blue herons, shorebirds, pelicans, grassland birds, and white-tailed deer. Many wildflowers and warm-season grasses are at peak bloom as well. Remember, wildlife are generally most active when temperatures are cooler, therefore the best times to view wildlife are early morning and early evening.
Although the Auto Tour Route is open, the Union Slough NWR Office itself is temporarily closed for safety of staff and visitors as a public health precaution. The Union Slough NWR Office is located 6 miles east of Bancroft on County Road A-42. For further information, please call (515) 928-2523.