Bird watching nature walk
at Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge.
In 1929, the Land Acquisitions Division
of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Biological Survey, approached
the New Holland Corporation concerning buying the lake and allowing it
to refill for a wildlife refuge. Five years later, on October 10, 1934,
New Holland Corporation sold its 49,925 acre lake property to the U. S.
Government for $311,943. By executive order dated December 18, 1934, President
Franklin D. Roosevelt designated the property to be the Lake Mattamuskeet
Migratory Bird Refuge. The federal government had created nearby Swan Quarter
Refuge two years earlier, in 1932.
The Refuge began immediately to convert
the lake property from a farming operation to a sanctuary for migratory
waterfowl and other forms of wildlife. They planted vegetation in and around
the lake to feed the birds and wildlife, and installed flood gates in the
man-made canals from the lake to the Pamlico Sound to prevent uncontrolled
salt-water intrusion during periods of extreme high tides. During the drainage
years, Hyde residents drove across the drained lakebed to get to distant
points in the county. In the 1940s, the State of North Carolina built a
causeway across the lake from south to north. This eliminated the necessity
of driving around the huge lake to get from one side of the county to the
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