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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Federal refuge open this weekend, open house postponed until October

Updated: May 8

Visitors walk along the recently completed Discovery Trail at the Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge. The 1-mile loop is wheelchair- and baby stroller-friendly and has benches stationed along the way for visitors to rest. (Photos by Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

Officials at the Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge decided on Friday to postpone the open house that was scheduled for Saturday, April 27. However, the recently finished visitor center will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day.

While part of the open house is to give visitors a chance to see the recently completed visitors center, many of the activities planned for Saturday focus on outdoor activities. That includes tree planting, guided walks, archery, slingshots, and the opportunity for visitors to see the recently completed 1-mile paved Discovery Trail loop.

Nova Clarke, visitor services manager for the refuge, said the decision was made based more on the winds expected on Saturday.

Inside the refuge's visitor center are displays that give more information about the refuge and the flora and fauna that live there.

"We decided to cancel because of the wind – even though the rain is holding off – with the 20 mph winds all morning, everything would have been blowing away and archery and slingshots would have been tough," she wrote in an email on Friday morning.

The visitors center is at 24141 Kansas Highway 52, a little over a quarter mile east of the interchange with U.S. Highway 69.

Benches are placed along the Discovery Trail for walkers to rest or meditate on the beauty of the forest or ponds.

The Johnson County Master Naturalists will also be there for a variety of activities including informational displays and arts and crafts.

The open house is now set for next October, said Clarke. She said the event was planned for last year but was called off because of construction delays.

Clarke said the visitor center is usually open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week and is closed on federal holidays.  The rest of the refuge, including all of the trails, is open sunrise to sunset 365 days of the year.

Displays along the trail help give visitors insight into the animals and plant life that inhabit the refuge.

A map inside the visitors center gives more detailed information on the various areas of the refuge.

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