Established in 1984 and located on the mainland of eastern North Carolina, Alligator River contains over 152,000 acres. Many species of wildlife call Alligator River home. The refuge bird list suggests at least 200 species of birds spend at least a portion of their year here. Many neotropical migrants, such as prothonotary warblers, prairie warblers, Swainson's warblers, worm-eating warblers and red-eyed vireos nest in the thick pocosin vegetation. Wood ducks, barred owls and other cavity nesters seek the old trees inevitably left due to their inacessible locations. Endangered and threatened species found on the refuge include the American alligator, peregrine falcon, American bald eagle and the red-cockaded woodpecker. the refuge is also home to one of the largest remaining concentrations of black bear along the mid-atlantic coast.
Long ago the area that now comprises Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge was considered by most people to be a vast wasteland. Visitors to the Outer Banks from the west made a special effort to complete their journey before dark, lest they risk a vehicle break-down on "no-man's land". Stories of bears, snakes and other vermin coupled with miles of nothingness on both Highways 64 and 264 made the casual traveler cautious, if not suspicious, of being stranded there.
Alligator River has large acreages of pocosin habitat. Pocosin is an Indian word meaning "swamp on a hill". These wetlands are characterized by high organic content soils with deep peat deposits that can hold vast quantities of water. When dry, these pocisins are highly susceptible to wildfire with the possibility of subsurface fire that can burn for months.
The red wolf was in trouble long before Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge existed. Native to the southeastern United States, the species had been eradicated from all but a small segment of its original range. By the early 1970's, the US Fish and Wildlife Service had captured the few remaining red wolves and declared the species extinct in the wild. Through captive breeding, red wolves were maintained while a suitable location was found to re-establish them back into the wild. For red wolves, Alligator River offered hope.
By 1986, a five-year experiment to rebuild a self-sustaining red wolf population in the wild began. During this experiment, red wolves proved that they could adapt to life in the wild ... that they could find food and avoid people ... the necesary combination for success. Today, red wolves roam free in eastern North Carolina.
The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge invites you to visit. Whether your interest is hiking, birding, hunting, fishing or kayaking ... there is something here for you.
Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
PO Box 1969
Manteo, North Carolina 27954
(252) 473-1131 firstname.lastname@example.org