Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Once a free-flowing river system, Big Lake NWR was changed to a lake/swamp ecosystem by the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12. Big Lake today consists primarily of wooded swamps and open water. The lake is shallow with an average depth of three feet and is bordered by a virgin cypress-tupelo swamp. Big Lake NWR was established in 1915 to provide habitat and protection for migrating and wintering birds and is recognized as an important link in the Mississippi migration corridor. Over the years the objectives of the refuge have expanded to include protection for endangered species. Big Lake was important in the recovery of the bald eagle from its endangered status. The refuge annually winters several species of waterfowl. Other kinds wildlife to look for are beavers, otters, raccoons, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, bobcat and the occasional armadillo.