Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Wilna Unit

Description

The Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge is a relatively young and growing refuge in the Northern Neck. The refuge was founded in 1996 largely to help protect critical habitat for bald eagles and other migratory species. Large concentrations of bald eagles can be found on the river year-round. In 2007, areas of the refuge were designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by the National Audubon Society for their high bald eagle concentration.

The Wilna Unit of the Refuge, acquired in 1999, is accessible off of Sandy Lane. A gravel lane provides access through early growth forest and should reward early morning visitors with sightings of numerous breeding and migrant songbirds. The road continues through recently cutover forest and managed grasslands, terminating near a pond, which hosts herons, turtles, frogs, and many interesting dragonflies. A launch site is available onto the pond for canoes, kayaks, and small boats (no trailer access and gasoline engines are prohibited) for exploration by water.

Breeding grassland species include grasshopper sparrow, eastern meadowlark, wild turkey, and northern bobwhite. Three trails are available. A map of the unit may be found on the website.

Directions

Physical Address: 336 Wilna Rd, Warsaw, VA 22572

Parking is available in two locations at opposite ends of the Refuge. For the lot by headquarters, proceed northwest down Wilna Rd from its intersection with SR 640/Sandy Ln bordering a large field to the southeast (38.020369, -76.869021). For the lot closest to the boat launch and trails, proceed west down Wilna Rd from its intersection with Sr 640/Sandy Ln bordering fields to the southwest (38.013344, -76.868326) and turn left to follow Refuge Road.

From US 360 E/Queen St in Tappahannock, continue for 4.2 miles and turn left (north) onto SR 624. In 4.4 miles, turn left (west) onto SR 636 and continue for 0.4 miles. Then, turn right (west) onto SR 640/Sandy Ln and continue to desired entrance.

From the Previous Site on the Northern Neck Loop of the VBWT:

From the Tayloe Unit of the Rappahannock River Valley NWR, continue on Naylors Beach Road for 1.8 miles. Turn right at the stop sign onto Rt. 636, which turns into Strangeway Road. Proceed 1.7 miles, turn left onto Rt. 640/Sandy Lane, and travel 1.1 miles to the Wilna Unit’s entrance gate on the left.