Reelfoot NWR, Union City, Tennessee: Legend has it that Chief Tecumseh became so angry over an injustice that he stamped his foot, causing the great earthquakes of 1811-1812 that created Reelfoot Lake. The floodplain fell 35-40 feet and the Mississippi River flowed backward for 3 days, filling the 45-square-mile basin. Another legend says that a Chickasaw brave incurred the wrath of the gods when he kidnapped a Choctaw princess for his bride. The brave, his bride, and his whole tribe were entombed at the bottom of the lake when the gods created a depression filled by the waters of the Mississippi River. Well, however it happened, the result was a hauntingly beautiful spot, where bald eagles roost in the tops of huge bald cypress trees towering over shallow-water inlets. In spring, wild roses cluster around the roots of these majestic trees, and later purple gallinules forage among golden lotuses and water lilies. Wintering populations of waterfowl number in the hundreds of thousands and there are no fewer than 56 species of fish, including ancient paddlefish and bowfin. Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett hunted here, finding an abundance of turkeys, deer, rabbits, squirrels, beavers, raccoons, and opossums. Mink are also found here, as are muskrats, bobcats, foxes, and coyotes. Songbirds include 16 species of warblers, ruby-throated hummingbirds, a million or so blackbirds—mostly red-wings but some Brewer’s and others—orioles, Swainson’s thrushes, and flycatchers. Cooper’s hawks, ospreys, and Mississippi kites are also familiar to visitors. Hunting and fishing are permitted here. Wildlife observation and photography opportunities are excellent. Boating is recommended as the best way to see the refuge, although motors greater than 10 horsepower are discouraged because of the shallow waters and proliferation of stumps. Auto-touring is popular. Several areas, including the visitor center, are fully accessible.Hide.