In the News: Updates to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge

updates to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge

Two updates to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Decatur will be completed just in time for prime birdwatching—waterfowl in particular. Thousands of Sandhill Cranes will soon arrive at the refuge for the winter.

New features at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge

According to reports, a couple of updates to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge will be open to the public later this month while a couple more are still in progress

One of the main updates is a renovated waterfowl observation building. The observation building will offer visitors stunning views of the cranes and other waterfowl such as ducks and geese.

Another addition to the park is a new outdoor photography blind. Wildlife photographers and enthusiasts will flock to the photography blind to capture nature at its best.

In fact, the outdoor photography blind has 13 windows framing more than 10 acres of fields. The blind can hold up to 30 visitors at one time. It’s located south of the Visitor Center.

Future updates

Two more updates to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge are also underway as part of the $5.4 million project. Funded by a federal grant, construction on the four-piece project started in mid-March.

A new hiking trail is expected to open after the photography blind and observation deck. Renovations to the Visitor Center won’t be finished until spring 2023.

Once complete, the center will feature a large, accessible paved ramp leading to the front doors. Renovations also include a larger bookstore and a spacious, updated classroom.


Nature lovers can find the Wheeler National Wildlife at 3121 Visitor Center Road in Decatur. That’s about a 10-minute drive from Summer Key!

Check Wheeler’s website for the latest news, including opening dates for the completed renovations.


Like a crane, are you looking to migrate south this winter? Stop by 715 Cedar Lake Road Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to take a tour of our grounds! For more community news and things to do, keep reading our blogs.