The birth of this beautiful wildlife refuge in Anson County had a humble start. In 1934 Lockhart Gaddy, an Anson County farmer decided to create a waterfowl refuge on his private pond. Word of Gaddy’s refuge spread far and wide with visitors from 47 states and 11 foreign countries according to 1952 news reports. The first year nine Canada geese wintered on the pond. As time went on the refuge became quite a success and by 1954 more than 10,000 James Bay Canada geese wintered on Gaddy’s Pond.
My Pee Dee Landscape Gallery
Click on photographs to enlarge
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acquired lands near Gaddy’s pond in the early 60s and established Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge. The department desired to expand protection for the geese and other waterfowl on Gaddy’s property. Many people think the visitor area is the bulk of the refuge and would be surprised at how much area it actually covers. I hope to convey the beauty of the different landscapes of the refuge. The catch phrase “it’s a hidden gem” actually applies to this beautiful spot in the southern Piedmont of North Carolina.
When I visited Gaddy’s Pond in the late 60s it was still a popular family destination. After paying 10 cents for a bag of corn one would walk to the shoreline, feed the geese and other waterfowl. Hungry catfish would churn the water into a rapid boil feeding on corn the birds missed. On one family trip when I was a teenager we were visiting the refuge with some friends, one of the little girls observing the ducks and geese feeding asked this question:
“What do the geese do with their front legs when they duck under for food?”
We all looked at each other and laughed and watched the expression on her face change as she realized what she had said.
I have many fond memories of visiting the refuge then. Nowadays I frequent the refuge to photograph or just get out and enjoy nature.