August 2, 1915
Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge was established as a 3,000-acre reserve and breeding ground for native birds by executive order of President Woodrow Wilson. Big Lake is one of the oldest inland national wildlife refuges. This 11,038-acre area is located in northeast Arkansas outside of Manila (Mississippi County), eighteen miles west of the Mississippi River. The refuge is one of more than 540 national wildlife refuges administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and is an important link for birds using the Mississippi migration corridor. The area was a free-flowing river system until the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811–1812 shifted the land to its current environment of swamps and a lake.