Old National Highway descends into the depths of John H. Kerr (Buggs Island) Reservoir. It once made its way across the stateline into North Carolina. Here, along the flooded margins of forest, search for great blue herons and eastern painted turtles sunning themselves at the water’s edge. In winter, the open waters host annually occurring grebes and loons, joined by additional surprises amongst the ring-billed gulls. This is also an excellent vantage to scan the skies for circling ospreys, and occasionally, bald eagles.
Moving away from the waters edge, the WMA provides access to dense pine woods filled with buzzing pine warblers and squeaky blue jays. Even the roadside verges are alive with wildlife. Scan the flowers for common buckeyes and red-spotted purples and check suitable perches for dragonflies such as massive common green darners or tiny eastern amberwings.
From Oak Grove, return northeast on Rt. 658/Cluster Springs Road for 0.9 miles to US 501/Huell Matthews Highway. Turn left (northwest) on US 501 for 4.5 miles to US 58/Bill Tuck Highway. Turn right and go east 19.5 miles to US 15/College Street in Clarksville. Turn right (south) for 1.6 miles to Rt. 722/Burlington Drive. Turn left (east) on Rt. 722/Burlington Drive for 0.8 miles to Old National Highway. Turn right and continue southeast 2.0 miles to the Merifield Wildlife Management Area (WMA).