Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established on August 18, 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt as the Lake Malheur Bird Reservation. Roosevelt set aside unclaimed lands encompassed by Malheur, Mud and Harney Lakes “as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds.” The newly established “Lake Malheur Bird Reservation” was the 19th of 51 wildlife refuges created by Roosevelt during his tenure as president. At the time, Malheur was the third refuge in Oregon and one of only six refuges west of the Mississippi.
The Refuge is located 30 miles south of Burns, Oregon in the southeast corner of the state. The Refuge is open from dawn until dusk each day. The Visitor Center at Refuge Headquarters will be open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm each day beginning March 10. Brochures are available in brochure boxes outside of the Visitor Center. The Refuge Museum, located at Headquarters, is open from dawn until dusk each day.
You may also be interested in recent bird sightings in the area.
The Refuge and the Burns Interagency Fire Zone conducted a prescribed burn on February 25th in the south Blitzen Valley to reduce decadent vegetation in sagebrush steppe uplands and to reinvigorate emergent marsh plants. Decadent vegetation in this 1900 acre burn was very thick and was not being utilized at an optimal level by wildlife - especially nesting birds. The emergent marsh habitat in Cottonwood Pond and West Knox Pond that was burned will remain dry for one year. Cattail and bulrush tubers in portions of Cottonwood Pond will be disked to create more open water areas. The uplands will begin to green up as spring rains encourage growth of forbes and grasses. The fire burned quickly through the upland habitat and shrubs will begin to re-sprout as temperatures warm up. By next year this area will offer prime nesting habitat for upland birds and waterfowl on the edges of the uplands adjacent to the marsh.
The burn area is adjacent to the Center Patrol Road and visitors will be able to see the results of the burn as the vegetation responds to this management treatment. Fire is one tool the refuge uses to manage habitat for optimal wildlife use. Prescribed burns are conducted in the winter to minimize wildlife impacts and to take advantage of spring rains and snow melt runoff from Steens Mountain to enhance vegetation responses after the fire.
Tundra swans on East Knox Pond while a prescribed burn occurs in uplands and marsh in the south part of the Blitzen Valley.
Sagebrush steppe burns on the left side of this image, while emergent marsh burns on the right side.
The Center Patrol Road has had rock and gravel added to the surface to improve road stability and improve year-round road conditions.
Unfortunately this has resulted in an increased number of flat tires for visitors and staff. Please be advised that your tires should have good tread on them and be in good condition before travelling on portions of the northern section of the Center Patrol Road.
We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Support Aquatic Health - Scale by Scale
Leave more than a memory at Malheur, purchase a scale for "Byrdie" to benefit Aquatic Health related projects!
Get Involved with the Refuge
Learn more about what's happening on the Refuge
The Aquatic Health program is making great strides in understanding how invasive common carp are effecting refuge wetlands. The week of September 17th was spent sampling carp at various locations on the refuge. Kidney samples were obtained from 120 carp to obtain bacteria samples. Fisheries biologists were also recording the various age classes of carp caught in nets to obtain a clearer understanding of population sizes. Check out our new brochure to learn more about this problem.
Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, 36391 Sodhouse Lane, Princeton, Oregon 97721 (541) 493-2612