10,428 acres, mostly in TN, small portion located in western KY, some primitive trails, visitors should take caution of swampy conditions and wildlife during warmer months, open seasonally for fishing, quota hunting
The history of Reelfoot Lake is almost as captivating as the splendid scenery and opportunity for outdoor recreation that it now offers. The winter of 1811 and 1812 saw a series of 1,800 tremors along the New Madrid Fault. The result was the almost 50,000 acres of altered landscape and Reelfoot Lake. After the lake was formed, there were conflicting ideas of what to do with the new formed area. Logging and timber interests battled against local and national hunting groups until the tensions eventually resulted in violence. A lawyer representing logging interests was hung near the community of Walnut Log by a group of vigilantes called the Night Riders. Finally, the state of Tennessee stepped in and took control of the area, ensuring the end to the violence. Additionally, Tennessee also granted access for sportsmen and outdoor lovers. In the early 1940s, 8,000 acres in the northern portion of Reelfoot was given to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, designated as a National Wildlife Refuge. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is still responsible for all land management, in addition, they also manage lake levels. Hikers and nature watchers will have a chance to experience some truly unique habitats and landscape on the numerous trails throughout the refuge. It's a true sportsman's paradise with fast paced fishing and hunting available.