Located on Back Bay in extreme Southeastern Virginia, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources’ Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is composed of four tracts, totaling 1,546 acres.
The Beasley, Trojan and Whitehurst Tracts, are on the western shore of Back Bay, a slightly brackish body separated from the Atlantic Ocean by False Cape; all three of these tracts are accessible by car. The Pocahontas Tract, a group of marshy islands, is at the south end of the bay and is not accessible by car.
The Whitehurst and Beasley Tracts are a patchwork of marshes, weedy and cultivated fields, narrow freshwater impoundments, and pine woodland. Because of the mixed character of the habitat, this area includes lots of woodland edge; both birds and white-tailed deer are plentiful. During summer, listen for northern bobwhite and watch for American and fishcrows, raptors, and passerines. In summer, great egrets hunt the pond edges, to be joined in winter by several species of puddle ducks. Impoundment water levels are manipulated to promote vegetation for wintering and migrating waterfowl. The tracts may be explored via rustic footpaths to and circling around the impoundments.
The Trojan Marsh Tract has a boat launch and channel to open water where the wildlife watcher with a boat can access the marshes of Back Bay. During winter, taking a boat into the bay will expose visitors to several species of waterfowl, including various diving ducks and geese. There is little land access here, but look for a short trail that winds along the channel/ woodland interface that can provide views of song and marsh birds.
- To Access the Site: A Restore the Wild Membership, Virginia hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or an access permit is required.
- For wildlife viewing visiting hours and a map of the WMA, see the agency’s website.
- Hunting could be occurring at this site in April and September – February, except on Sundays. If you are visiting this site during hunting seasons, wear blaze orange or blaze pink for safety.
Location of Beasley and Whitehurst Tracts: Munden Rd., Virginia Beach, VA
Location of Trojan Marsh Tract: Back Bay Landing Rd., Virginia Beach, VA
To Trojan Marsh Tract, from the Previous Site on the Seashore to Cypress Loop of the VBWT:
From Little Island Park in Sandbridge, travel 3.8 miles north to Sandbridge Road. Turn left on Sandbridge Road and drive 5.3 miles to Princess Anne Road. Turn left and continue on Princess Anne Road for 12 miles to Back Bay Landing Road. Turn left and proceed about 1.5 miles to the WMA’s entrance. Use the lower road, beyond the driveway at the bottom of the hill, about 100 yards past the house.
Location & DirectionsView on Google Maps
- Site Contact: Virginia DWR Region 1 Office: 804-829-6580; BirdingTrail@dwr.virginia.gov
- Access: Wildlife viewing hours vary seasonally. See the DWR
website. Restore the Wild Membership, hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or an access permit is required.
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