Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trip Planning to Mattamuskeet

I have been waiting for fall (and the migrating waterfowl) to arrive to take a trip to Lake Mattamuskeet. I went back in the spring on an initial scouting trip with plans to go back. Tundra Swans come in by the thousands to winter around the lake and the other lakes that make up the "Pocosin Lakes". While there were plenty of Ibis and various other ducks, the sight of so many swans is suppose to be spectacular. The swans begin coming in around the middle of November.

Lake Mattamuskeet is the largest natural lake in North Carolina covering a little more than 40,000 acres with an average depth of only two feet. In 1916, the three story pump house was completed which at the time was the largest pumping station in the world pumping 1.2 millon gallons per minute. The attempt was to drain the lake and turn the area in to farm land.

After three different attempts that proved too costly, the pumping finally ended. In 1934 the federal government purchased the lake and created Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. The Civilian Conservation Corps turned the pumping station in to a lodge that opened in 1937. After years of mismanaged hunting practices, when the waterfowl numbers decreased and the hunters stopped coming, the lodge closed in 1974. The building was placed on the National Registry of Historic places in 1981 and reopened in 1995 only to closed again in 2000 due to safety concerns with the building.

Currently the lodge is once again being renovated. With eco-tourism on the rise, hopefully it will succeed. I will put in on my to do list once it opens. The two photos are the front and back of the lodge that I took back in the spring.

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