Imagine Northeast Iowa

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East of the Northeast: Great Wildlife Natural Habitat
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East of the Northeast: Great Wildlife Natural Habitat

  If you love to watch wildlife in its natural habitat then you must head to the most Northeast town in Iowa and head east. New Albin has a hidden treasure called Army Dr. It is a two mile gravel road that takes you east into the backwaters of the Mississippi River.

There is a little park that sits at the beginning of the road where you can have a picnic and walk to the observation deck that looks over Pool slough north of the road. Pool Slough is 663 miles of a designated waterfowl refuge inside the Upper Mississippi River Fish and Wildlife Refuge. During the spring you can watch hundreds of migrating birds along with many preparing their nest to stay and make it home. In the fall you can enjoy the beauty of the changing of the leaves and capture the sites of birds migrating south.

Besides having many species of birds in the area there are abundant of other wildlife living in the sloughs. Deer, beaver, otter, muskrat along with turtles and frogs to name a few.

To enjoy the scenery I prefer to walk the 4 miles to the boat landing and back but you can also drive if necessary and still be surrounded by the refuge. As you start your walk the first mile on the north side will be the waterfowl refuge and to the south are wetlands with a section where you can park and try your luck at fishing and exploring.

As you continue on the adventure you will walk beside a small channel in the slough meandering its way to the wider backwaters of the Mississippi where it will continue its trip down river to the Gulf of Mexico. The south side of the road turns into a wetland forest where it is possible to spot many land animals.

When you reach the end of the road you are greeted by the beauty of the backwater channel of the Mississippi River. This spot has a bench where you can sit and watch the confluence of the slough channel. This area also has a boat ramp, shores to fish from, information board on birds and wildlife that you may see along with a handicap accessible restroom.

If you come in the spring you may want to check the rivers water level since the road is susceptible to flooding. If you drive the road, please drive slow and watch out for turtles and other animals that may be crossing.

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