During recent flood events on the Grand River, Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) near Sumner received substantial damages to its visitor facilities and other infrastructure.

During recent flood events on the Grand River, Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) near Sumner received substantial damages to its visitor facilities and other infrastructure.

For that reason, until further notice, the refuge is closed to the public, with the exception of the Taylor Point Access. Visitors can access the north end of Silver Lake from the Taylor Point Access for fishing or wildlife viewing, and there is a primitive boat launch there to access Silver Lake for fishing.

Most public-access roads have been washed out at numerous places and gravel has been washed away from many of the roads, Swan Lake manager Steve Whitson reports.

The visitors center and headquarters office were flooded and have been closed. The staff is setting up a temporary office in the old bunkhouse near the headquarters that will serve as its headquarters until further decisions can be made on addressing the damages to the office/visitors center.

Refuge staff from the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge near Columbia and Loess Bluffs refuge near Mound City have been assisting with cleanup and repairs. Other refuges are planning to come and help get the roads repaired once things dry out enough.

Once all the washouts are repaired, gravel will be replaced on roads as soon as possible, according to Whitson. When the roads are safe to travel, they will be re-opened for public use.

Due to those circumstances, the refuge’s July “First Friday” event has been cancelled, but plans for holding an August First Friday are being formulated.

“The refuge’s staff will appreciate public cooperation as we get things repaired,” the manager reports. “We plan to get the refuge back open as soon as possible.

Anyone with questions may contact Whitson at 660-973-6349 or via email at steve_whitson@fws.gov.