Have you experienced the secret outdoor beauty of the Sloughs? Maybe you’ve shopped our downtown a few times, walked the riverfront, and enjoyed the wide open green space of Henderson’s centrally located parks, but some of you may be asking yourself, what are the Sloughs? In that case, keep reading…
Exploring the Sloughs Wildlife Management Area is the perfect way to experience the Henderson outdoors in a new perspective; the land retains a special untouched beauty, as if you are the first to discover its peaceful essence. Just a notch off the beaten path, the Sloughs is made up of almost 11,000 acres of wildlife reserve and is maintained by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
What can you expect to see at this time of year at the Sloughs? With a variety of different habitats ranging from wetlands to crop fields and wooded areas, the Sloughs attracts all the traditional Kentucky wildlife that you would expect, rabbit, deer, squirrel, raccoon, coyote, beaver to list a few. While the Sloughs are home to many species of birds, including dove, quail, blue heron, and even bald eagle, no sight is more breathtaking and rare than the massive migrating flocks of snow geese.
Thousands of snow geese and speckled geese use the reserve during the winter months as a pit stop, roaming the lands and waters for food and rest. While the acreage itself is off limits until March 15, nearby observatory stands provide explorers with optimal viewing. The experience is nothing short of paradise if you are lucky enough to catch it. Even John James Audubon himself stated that he “never failed,” to miss the arrival of the snow geese while living in Henderson (Birds of America).
Over 10,000 geese and 10,000 ducks will call the Sloughs home this winter. While the flocks of thousands of winter waterfowl are treasure to see during this time of year, don’t be downhearted if you miss the highlights of the snow geese activity. Opportunities for bird watching are nothing short of abundant at the Sloughs, and there are plenty more species of birds to see, especially as the season of spring approaches.
The trip to the edge of town is about a 20-minute trip from Main Street. If you can make your way to the Geneva Store on KY-136, you’ll take the first right after the general store onto highway 268 and continue driving for about 6.5 miles before turning left at the Sauerheber Refuge (one of the six units that make up the Sloughs Reserves).
For more information on visiting or hunting the Sloughs, call: (270) 827-2673
Photography credits: Chuck Summers