Marais des Cygnes National
Wildlife Refuge - Kansas

Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge is located 39 miles south of the Kansas City metropolitan area, along the Marais des Cygnes River. The 7,500 acre Refuge was established in 1992 to protect one of the northwestern-most examples of bottomland hardwood forest in the United States as well as the largest contiguous tract of bottomland hardwood forest in Kansas. 'Marais des Cygnes' means 'Marsh of Swans' in French.


High quality stands of bottomland hardwood forest, upland oak-hickory forest, tallgrass prairie, seasonal and permanent wetlands, and riverine areas are found throughout the Refuge. These unique areas harbor many species that are considered nationally or regionally threatened such as bald eagles, peregrine falcons, cerulean warblers, broadhead skinks, flat floater mussels, and Mead's milkweed.

More than 30 species of warblers migrate through or nest on the Refuge. The Refuge also is known to harbor 30 species of mussels. Other interesting species are river otters, bobcats, paddlefish, crawfish frogs, scissor-tailed flycatchers, loggerhead shrike, and red-shouldered hawks. The Refuge provides a rare opportunity to view high quality examples of a number of uncommon plant and animal communities all within a short distance of each other. Some of these communities are rare throughout North America, including bottomland hardwood forest, which has been reduced by 80% nationally, and tallgrass prairie, which has been reduced by 99% nationally.

Recreational opportunities

Marais des Cygnes NWR is located 39 miles (63 km) south of the Kansas City metropolitan area along U.S. Highway 69. At the intersection of U.S. Highway 69 and Kansas Highway 52, travel east 1 1/4 mile (2 km). The Refuge office is located on the south side of Kansas Highway 52.

Official U.S. Fish and Wildlife Site

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