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Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge - Woodworth, North Dakota


The benefits we enjoy today would not be possible if it were not for the wisdom and vision of those back in 1908. Large numbers of white pelicans nested at Chase Lake in 1863 when General Sibley was active in the area. In 1872, the Northern Pacific Railroad reached Jamestown, N.D. and brought a flood of settlers to the area. Market hunting and indiscriminate killing had drastic effects on wildlife populations prior to the establishment of laws protecting wildlife.

In 1905, local resident H.H. McCumber reported about 500 pelicans were left on the lake and requested the Biological Survey in Washington, D.C. establish a bird refuge at Chase Lake.

By the time the government investigated the area, only 50 pelicans remained. On August 28, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt established Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge as a "reserve and breeding area for native birds."

Photo of President Theodore Roosevelt
President Theodore Roosevelt established Chase Lake as the 15th National Wildlife Refuge. Now there are over 540.

Photo of three hunters holding dead pelicans
In 1908 there were no laws protecting pelicans from indiscriminate killing.

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