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2020

Wildlife Refuges view as map

  • Bridge Hollow Campground
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service, Maybell, CO
  • Right on the beautiful and swift-flowing Green River. Migratory birds. Winter grazing for big game (elk, mule deer), the occasional moose they say. Biggest thing I saw was a dragonfly, but the place is beautiful and remote. Getting here entails about 20 miles of gravel road, most of it pretty nice. The rest is rough and washboardy.

  • Sacramento Unit
  • Sacramento NWR Complex, Willows CA
  • Conveniently located next to Interstate 5, which somehow adds to the experience. You can see the semis rocketing along less than a mile away, but you're in another world. There's a nice hike through the marshes and along a tiny creek, and a very nice auto tour with a viewing platform stop in the middle. Sometimes I do the drive then the hike, sometimes the hike then the drive. Sunset looking back across the marshes from the viewing platform can be spectacular.

  • Moapa NWR
  • US Fish and Wildlife, Overton NV
  • pretty little place off of SR 168. Used to be a warm springs resort, so lots of decorative palm trees around, which the rangers don't like. There is a little endangered fish, the Moapa dace, which is the reason for the whole place.

  • Bear Lake NWR
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service, Montpelier ID
  • closed for the stupid government shutdown

  • LLano Seco Unit
  • Sacramento NWR Complex, Chico CA
  • Infrastructure is all new they say. Pretty happening little spot on a warm November Sunday afternoon. Eight-ish vehicles there when I arrived. There's a bathroom and a viewing area at the parking lot. There were lots of birds right there - mostly pintails, widgeons and shovellers. Also in the distance snow geese, the other goose, a flock of cranes overhead, and across the road, a flock of swans! Then there's a short, 1/3 mile walk out to another viewing area. Pretty sweet little spot. On hte walk was a group of grazing curlews that were kind enough to not fly away as I walked pretty close. I thought I was doing just a drive-by on my way to the main Sacto NWR auto loop, but this was so cool I spent the afternoon here.

  • Devil's Kitchen Lake Campground
  • Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Carbondale IL
  • If it were 30° cooler, this would be spectacular, but it's just too hot tonight. It's set up as a tents-only area on a little peninsula on the lake, but there's no one else here, so I'm hanging in the parking lot. The bathroom (with shower!) seems to be of recent construction and is very nice. The stifling heat and stillness became kinda neat after a while...

  • Ouray National Wildlife Refuge
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service, Ouray UT
  • Not at all interesting on this visit. I hope I caught them at a bad time of day in a bad time of year, because there was neither wildlife nor good infrastructure. Four or so miles into the auto tour loop the road was blockaded - no loop. They could have given some warning at the start of the tour that it was blocked. No wildlife of any kind visible to me. There is camping nearby at Pelican Lake

  • Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge
  • Department of the Interior, Cherokee OK
  • Wonderful bird-watching place. There a short hike through the marshland to a blind.

  • Ruby Lake Campground
  • Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Ruby Lake NWR, Elko NV
  • gotta drive 20 miles of gravel to get here. Right across the road from Ruby Lake Nat'l Wildlife Refuge, on a hill looking over the whole Ruby Valley.

  • Tule Lake NWR
  • Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Tulelake CA
  • Migratory birds. long auto tour, beautiful setting, short hike up the ridge at the Vis Cen, camping at Lava Beds Nat'l Monument. Next to Lower Klamath NWR. August: Coots, Buffleheads, and Clarks Grebes - love those grebes!

  • Stillwater NWR
  • US Fish and Wildlife, Fallon NV
  • large reserve, very flat (former Lake Lahontan), nice viewing areas, allegedly camping

  • South Klamath Lake NWR
  • Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Tulelake CA
  • ring-necked pheasant many, many red tailed hawks, most intimate ever for me a coyote a noble 10-12 point mule deer buck, then later a whole herd of lesser mule deer northern harrier Northern Spoonbill, (I think) buffleheads and redheads Sandhill crane (couldn’t stop to get a good look ):

  • Coleman National Fish Hatchery
  • US Fish and Wildlife, Anderson CA
  • Not strictly an NWR, but think of it as a wildlife refuge for trout! I didn't have the energy or inclination to explore very much, but they are very welcoming of visitors, and encourage strolling around. It's a lovely drive to get here, along Gover Road, a quiet two-lane hugging a scenic stretch of the Sacramento River. Nice views of Mt Lassen along the Fishery Road.

  • Wichita Mountains NWR
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service, Lawton OK
  • Beautiful place, quite surprising with hundreds of miles of flat farmland and prairie before and after. Bison, Elk (so they say), and a prairie dog town conveniently next to a parking area.

  • Bowdoin NWR
  • Department of the Interior, Malta MT
  • Nice place, not much wildlife action today, but the 15 mile Auto Loop Trail was very pleasant and interesting to me, since I am in unfamiliar habitat. Picturing what it was like for the native Americans, that sort of thing.

  • Colusa NWR
  • Sacramento NWR Complex, Colusa CA
  • Warm, clear fall day. Mostly pintails, with a sprinkling of shovellers and American wigeons. Some snowy egrets and one great heron. There was a large flock of snow geese in their southeast corner. The tolerated me until I was about halfway past, but then somebody spooked and they took to the air by the thousands. The night heron posse was at their usual hangout on the east side of the creek on the way out. I got a good long l;ook at some kind of raptor. I'm guessing red tailed, but maybe a Cooper's hawk - it was more gray-ish than reddish ...

  • Upper Pahranagat Lake
  • US Fish and Wildlife, Alamo NV
  • Lovely campsites right off the busy highway, next to NWR water - either a small lake or a large pond. Idyllic except for the noise and headlights of the constant semis 300 yds away.

  • Ash Meadow NWR
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service, Death Valley Junction
  • very remote, no camping nearby, not like the NWRs I'm used to. Lotta driving to individual cool little habitats tucked away, one big pond and a couple of really beautiful cold springs.

  • Modoc NWR
  • US Fish and Wildlife, Alturas CA
  • A must stop for me if I am in the area. There is a nice auto tour around a little lake. My impression is that the Sand Cranes are the star attraction here.

  • Crab Orchard Campground
  • Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Marion IL
  • real nice find! Crab Orchard is a pretty big place, with four campgrounds. The other campgrounds have full hookups for the big boys and cost more. But E Loop is the oldest and has become the bastard stepchild in the corner. Electric only inside the loop, no hookups outside. Its bathroom is kinda gross, but hey, $5 for overnight and a shower ain't bad.

  • Lake 13 Campground
  • Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge, Maxwell NM
  • Took me a bit of wandering down unmarked gravel roads to find the camping area, but I'm very happy I did. There's a toilet and a picnic table. Drive a little, there's boat access, a couple of trees, and a grassy area which I think is the official camping area, then the road wanders half-way around Lake 13. Nobody used the grassy area. The rain had made it a mosquito-infested bog. I parked at a wide spot in the road by the entrance, and at least one bunch of fishermen spent the night on the far side of the lake. Super nice place!

  • St Marks NWR
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service, St Marks FL
  • A really interesting place. The entrance and Visitors Center are five miles off the highway, then it's another five miles to the payoff, the lighthouse and actual Gulf of Mexico. The Visitors Center looks quite deluxe, but both times I have been hurrying to make sunset at the beach, and both times I forgot to return in the morning.