Originally established in 1935 as a sanctuary for migratory birds, the 11,500-acre Lake Alice National Wildlife Refuge serves as a major waterfowl concentration point during spring and fall migrations, as well as a significant breeding area for wetland wildlife. Tens of thousands of snow geese, Canada geese, sandhill cranes, and ducks use the lake and surrounding lands each year.
The relatively flat landscape of the area is intertwined with wetlands and marshes. Often called "prairie potholes," these wetlands were created by large continental glaciers during the last ice age and provide excellent habitat for a variety of wetland wildlife.
Most of the area within the Refuge was farmed at one time so very little native prairie remains. A mixture of grasses and legumes have been planted throughout most of the Refuge to provide cover for a variety of ground nesting birds as well as winter cover and food for numerous species of resident wildlife.
The diversity of habitats on the Refuge provide for an abundance of wildlife species. Lake Alice supports a large colony of Franklin gulls that can be viewed throughout the spring and summer feeding on abundant insects produced in the shallow wetlands. Other colonial nesting birds include rookeries of black-crowned night herons, snowy and cattle egrets, and western and eared grebes.
Dense stands of bulrush, cattails, and phragmites surround many of the larger wetlands and may completely cover many of the smaller wetlands on the Refuge. These areas are favorite nesting and feeding areas for birds such as marsh wrens, Virginia and sora rails, coots, bitterns, and the great blue herons.
Refuge grasslands provide nesting habitat for numerous species of songbirds as well as a variety of ducks. Thousands of mallards, pintails, blue-winged teal, gadwall, and shovelers nest on the Refuge every year. Grasslands also benefit a number of resident game birds including Hungarian partridge, ring-necked pheasant, and sharp-tailed grouse.
A mosaic of shrubs and trees provide another important component of the Refuge's habitat types. They provide winter cover for resident wildlife and vital nesting habitat for a variety of warblers, woodpeckers, and other songbirds.
Additionally, the diversity and interspersion of habitat types provide for numerous white-tailed deer, an occasional moose, and numerous small mammals like red fox, coyotes, raccoons, and muskrats.
Maintaining the quality and diversity of habitat types is essential for maintaining abundant and diverse wildlife species. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel use a variety of techniques to improve wildlife habitat on the Refuge. Prescribed burning, haying grazing, and farming are used to maintain and improve grasslands. Water control structures on several wetlands allows for manipulation of water levels throughout the year to maintain diverse wetland vegetation.
Big game, waterfowl, and upland game bird hunting are permitted on various portions of the Refuge. Please contact the Refuge Manager for current regulations.
Refuge roads are not maintained during the winter and may be impassible when snow covered or wet. Please contact the Refuge Manager or obtain a current public use guide for regulations and open dates.
The refuge provides many photo and wildlife viewing opportunities and serves as an outdoor classroom for local schools.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeks to afford persons with disabilities full accessibility or reasonable accommodation. The Refuge Headquarters building, located at Devils Lake, North Dakota is wheel chair accessible. Contact Refuge Headquarters for information or to address accessibility problems. For the hearing impaired, use your State relay system for the deaf.