Chatham, Cape Cod Nature Trails
Monomoy Wildlife Sanctuary
Chatham is a mecca for bird enthusiasts. In autumn, Cape Cod is a veritable tap for birds of numerous species. Its temperate climate attracts many birds through the winter when most have winged south. The summer months see the migration at its height. Chatham, with Monomoy Island, affords unexcelled opportunity to observe many species, both rare and common. Nearly every species recorded from New England has been seen at some time in this area. The Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge is a link in the chain of migratory waterfowl refuges along the Atlantic Flyway. Access is available by car, by a short boat trip from Chatham, and local boat charters are available. The refuge provides nesting, feeding, and resting grounds for a known 285 species. This is one of the most famous and productive ornithological points on the Atlantic seaboard. Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary conducts guided natural history tours of Monomoy throughout the year. Call 508-349-2615 for information or reservations. Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge consists of North and South Monomoy Islands and a portion of Morris Island.
The nearly 3,000 acre refuge stretches approximately ten miles southward into the waters of
Nantucket Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Ninety-four percent of Monomoy’s acreage was designated a Wilderness Area in 1970, and is managed under the guidelines of the Wilderness Act of 1964. It is the only Wilderness area in southern New England.
Beginning January 2010, the Monomoy Wildlife Sanctuary will be open year-round on Monday - Friday 8:00am to 4:00pm. To reach the headquarters on Morris Island, take Route 6 east to Route 137 south to Route 28. A left turn takes you through downtown Chatham (about 3 miles). Turn right at the stop sign to the Chatham Lighthouse and Coast Guard Station. Take the first left after the lighthouse, then the first right. Follow Morris Island Road to signs for the refuge on the left. For further information, call 508-945-0594.