Located in Decatur, AL, the refuge attracts thousands of wintering waterfowl each year as well as manages and protects habitat for 12 federally endangered or threatened species.


The Visitor Center (including the grounds, parking lot, Observation Building, and Atkeson Boardwalk/Trail) will be closed through late fall 2022 (estimated) for renovations.  For your own safety, do not enter active construction sites on the refuge.  In-person visitor services will not be available during this time.  Refuge information, maps, hunt permits, trail guides, and winter birding guides will be available at the information kiosk outside of the visitor center front gate as well as the Document Library on the bottom of this webpage.  Visitors needing further assistance should call (256) 350-6639 Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:00.

We will continue to update this website as we get more information on construction completion and future facility openings as construction progress continues.

America the Beautiful Park Passes:

Those wanting to purchase an Interagency Park Pass should call (256) 250-6639 to make an appointment and arrangements to buy the pass on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Visit Us

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge is rich in wildlife and recreation opportunities. Thousands of people come to the refuge each year to enjoy solitude, to commune with nature, and to share the joys of wildlife and being outdoors with family and friends. The refuge Visitor Center and Observation Building are located near each other and should be your priority stop when visiting the refuge for the first time.

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1938 as a wintering area for ducks, geese and other migratory birds. Today, the refuge attracts thousands of wintering waterfowl and cranes each year. The refuge is also a winter home to the endangered whooping crane who first arrived in 2004.

      What We Do

      To help plants and wildlife, refuge staff uses a variety of habitat management techniques to maintain, recover, or enhance plant and wildlife values. Refuge staff carefully considers many management techniques and employs them in varying degrees according to the situation.

      Our Species

      Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge was established as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.  A diversity of habitat types provide excellent feeding, resting, and roosting sites for wintering waterfowl and Sandhill Cranes , as well as nesting sites for neotropical migrant birds and many species of resident wildlife.

      Our Library

      Our digital library is a collection of refuge documents and brochures for you to browse. 


      Public hunting on Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge is permitted on approximately 18,000 acres.