New Observation Platform on Wildlife Drive
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is pleased to announce the opening of a new wildlife observation platform on the Refuge’s Wildlife Drive. The boardwalk, which features PermaTrak's concrete boardwalk system, is an ADA-accessible platform that stretches over 200 feet into the Blackwater River marshland and gives visitors an elevated 360-degree view of some of the woodlands, wetlands, islands and waterways of the Refuge. Two all-weather spotting scopes on the platform allow for up-close viewing of eagles, ospreys, herons, ducks, muskrats and other wetland wildlife, and the platform’s benches provide a place to relax while taking in the scenery. The platform also features a marsh-level deck, which offers visitors a closer look at wetland vegetation and the aquatic creatures that live among it.
The new platform was erected at the same location where the Refuge’s observation tower once stood, a structure that became an icon to locals and visitors alike. Due to age and safety, the tower was dismantled in the early 1990s. Constructed of concrete, lumber, and marine pilings, the new platform is designed to give many decades of service to Blackwater NWR, and allow every visitor a chance to take in the scenic beauty of the Refuge.