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Established in 1937, this 125,000-acre site is the largest coastal marsh refuge on the Gulf of Mexico. The primary management objective of the refuge is to preserve a large area of coastal wetlands for wintering and migrating waterfowl from both the Mississippi and central flyways. It is a major nursery area for many estuarine-dependent marine species as well as home to alligators and other reptiles, mammals, and numerous wading, water, and marsh birds. Numerous recreational opportunities are available year-round. Hiking, wildlife observation and photography are popular at the Wetland Walkway and Blue Goose Trail. Crabbing and fishing opportunities are available year-round at Northline, Hog Island Gully, Blue Crab and West Cove recreation areas. Several of the areas have improved fishing piers which are wheelchair accessible. Boat launching, boat activities, fishing and crabbing are permitted from March 15 through Oct. 15, sunrise to sunset. Some 150 miles of canals, bayous, and waterways are open to boat travel. Open marsh may be entered only by paddling or push-poling – no motors. Check ahead for conditions and restrictions. For activity details, please pick up a Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex Fishing Brochure at the visitor center. To get to the refuge, at 3000 Holly Beach, from Hackberry, take Highway 27 south and follow the sign to the visitor center. For more information see www.fws.gov/refuges/profiles/index.cfm?id=43640 or call 337-762-3816.