Mattamuskeet Lodge Today
The Mattamuskeet pumping station being converted to the "new" Mattamuskeet Hunting Lodge under construction by the CCC, November 5, 1935 or 1936.
During its heyday, hunters labeled Lake Mattamuskeet the "goose hunting capital of the world." Over 150,000 geese
spent their winters on the lake and adjacent land, but in the 1960s the numbers dwindled to only 20,000 geese. Changes in climate and land use drastically reduced the numbers of wintering geese around Lake Mattamuskeet. To protect the declining flock, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service closed the Refuge to goose hunting in 1974, which resulted in the closure of Mattamuskeet Lodge.
In 1980, the federal government listed the Lodge on the National Register of Historic Places. This prevented it
from being torn down, but the building was rapidly deteriorating. In 1989, Hyde County began raising public awareness of the plight of the beloved Lodge. The North Carolina Legislature appropriated $50,000 for a feasibility
study to determine if it was practical to save the building for some alternate use. The Regional Development Institute at East Carolina University conducted the study and recommended saving the building. That year, survivors of the lake drainage and CCC periods participated in a reunion at the Lodge.
From these efforts, the Greater Hyde County Chamber of Commerce formed the Friends of Mattamuskeet Lodge Committee to facilitate efforts to save the Lodge. This committee organized work days and hundreds of volunteer workers turned out to clear overgrown vegetation, repair the roof, repair plaster, paint the interior and exterior of the building, repair the observation tower, and perform many other tasks. Contractors made other repairs, paid for by state government, federal government, and local fundraising events.
A cooperative agreement between the Service and ECU signed in 1994 allows the Lodge to be used as an ECU field station for coastal studies and for community groups to use the building for public and private events. The Fish and Wildlife Service also entered into an agreement with a not-for-profit organization, the Partnership for the Sounds,
to coordinate the total renovation of the Lodge into an Environmental Education Center. In 1995, The Mattamuskeet Foundation was formed as a not-for-profit organization to preserve and interpret the history of Lake Mattamuskeet.
The renovated Lodge will house the Refuge offices for the Mattamuskeet, Swan Quarter, and Cedar Island Refuges; the ECU Field Station for Coastal Studies; the office of the Greater Hyde County Chamber of Commerce; and serve as an environmental and educational site for the Partnership for the Sounds.