Silvio O. Conte NWR--Stone Dam Road

Tips for Birding

About this Location

Stone Dam Road entrance area is a riparian, wooded area along the Nulhegan River and Stone Dam Road. Watch for Canada, black-throated green, northern parula, blackburnian, and black-throated blue warblers along the power line corridor. Common merganser, great blue heron, and belted kingfisher can be seen along the river.

About Silvio O. Conte NWR--Nulhegan Basin Division

See all hotspots at Silvio O. Conte NWR--Nulhegan Basin Division

The Nulhegan Basin Division of the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge consists of more than 26,600 acres of conifer and deciduous forest interspersed with forested wetlands, peatlands, and shrub swamps, and contains three of the four tributaries of the Nulhegan River. These lands are nested within a working forest landscape exceeding 150,000 acres. Located just a few miles south of the Canadian border, the basin’s vegetation most closely resembles that of the northern Appalachian Mountains, interspersed with elements of the boreal forest to the north. This division is known for abundant songbirds, particularly boreal species and warblers, and has been designated an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. It is open to the public for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, environmental education, and interpretation.

About Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge
The Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge was established in 1997 to conserve, protect, and enhance the abundance and diversity of native plants, fish, and wildlife species and the ecosystems on which they depend throughout the 7.2 million-acre Connecticut River watershed. Currently, the refuge is comprised of nearly 40,000 acres within parts of the four watershed states of New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

The refuge includes ten divisions and twelve units that represent a wide variety of unique habitats such as the northern forest, valuable as nesting habitat for migrant thrushes, warblers, and other birds; rivers and streams used by shad, salmon, herring, and other migratory fishes; and an internationally significant complex of high-quality tidal fresh, brackish and salt marshes. Many opportunities exist for visitors to explore the diverse landscapes of the Connecticut River watershed.

About Nulhegan Basin Important Bird Area

See all hotspots at Nulhegan Basin Important Bird Area

This is a large area in the Vermont context; 25,700 acres (40 square miles). It is 21 miles north to south; and 10 miles west to east at the widest. It is the most boreal of Vermont’s landscapes, in large part due to its height above sea level. It has good examples of a variety of boreal ecosystems enhanced by significant topographical relief in spite of no major, tall mountains. The size and shape of the IBA reflect its history of ownership rather than ecological boundaries. Cherished in that part of the state are the expanses of unbroken wildlands notwithstanding the logging history.

The Nulhegan Basin IBA is Vermont’s largest IBA comprising a mosaic of forest and wetland habitat types. The predominance of boreal habitats is typical of forests found further to the north and as such supports a number of species rarely found in Vermont. The IBA is centered around the Nulhegan Basin and stretches from Lewis Pond in the north to the Granby Stream and its tributaries to the south. Included in this area are the Moose, Ferdinand, and the Yellow bogs. Vermont Natural community types include Lowland and Montane Spruce-Fir forests, Northern Hardwood Forest, Spruce-Fir-Tamarack and Black Spruce swamps, Dwarf Shrub, and Black Spruce Woodland bogs and Intermediate Fen.

This IBA includes the Conte National Wildlife Refuge and Wenlock and West Mountain Wildlife Management Areas as well as a number of other state-owned lands. Much of this land was acquired through one of the largest land deals in Vermont. Controversy has revolved around the management of the state lands and access to areas for timber harvesting. Surveys for Spruce Grouse are conducted every 2 years. Other issues include the accidental shooting of Spruce grouse by hunters and invasive species.


  • Roadside viewing

  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

Content from Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge webpage, Nulhegan Basin IBA (National Audubon) webpage, and Ian Worley

Last updated January 22, 2024