Mattamuskeet Migratory Bird (later Wildlife) Refuge was established in 1934, primarily as a refuge for migratory birds along the Atlantic flyway. It was one of the first refuges created under President Franklin Roosevelt, an ardent bird fancier and conservationist, and was assembled and administered by the Bureau of Biological Survey (reorganized into the Fish and Wildlife Service in 1940).
The refuge is covers 50,000 acres on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula in Hyde County, North Carolina. It encompasses Mattamuskeet Lake, the largest natural lake in North Carolina, measuring 18 miles by 7 miles, but only 2-3 feet deep. The Mattamuskeet pumping station at the south side of the lake was established in 1911 along with drainage canals to drain the lake to enable farming in the rich land at the bottom of the lake. Despite the pumping station and canals, flooding was a continued problem and efforts to drain the lake were abandoned in the 1930s and the refuge established.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) set up a camp to make improvements at the refuge.
Douglas Brinkley, Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America. New York: Harper. 2011.
Project originally submitted by Charles Swaney on June 22, 2017.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.
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