Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Region


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 Monday through Thursday and Friday from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. 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 hosted by

Bats, Bees and Moths

A number of studies have been conducted over the last few years to inventory bats, bees and moths using habitat on the Refuge. Reports summarizing the occurrence of these species on the Refuge are now available:

Hunting Changes for the 2014-2015 Season

A number of changes have been made to the hunting program on the Refuge. Details about these changes can be found on our Hunting page.

Some quick highlights of the changes:

  • Waterfowl hunting will be allowed in the Buena Vista Unit.
  • Upland bird and waterfowl hunting will open 4 weeks earlier in the Buena Vista Unit on the fourth Saturday of October - October 25, 2014.
  • The South Malheur Lake Waterfowl Unit – accessed from the Boat Launch Road at Refuge Headquarters – opens October 25th.
  • Malheur Refuge is not open for the extended White Front and White Geese State season.

    Malheur Lake is dropping rapidly as a result of low annual precipitation and high summer temperatures. If the lake drops below 10,000 acres regulations dictate closure of waterfowl hunting on Malheur Lake. Check with the Refuge about the status of the Malheur Lake hunts before arriving.

Malheur Lake landsat image showing low lake levels

New Video about the impact of Invasive Common Carp in Malheur Lake

The Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation and the Refuge have funded the production of a new video about the impacts of invasive common carp in Malheur Lake and efforts to restore the productivity of Malheur Lake for the benefit of wildlife. Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation is also an important partner in the basin-wide Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative which is working to implement basin-wide carp control strategies, and work with private landowners to maintain flood-irrigation and haying practices that sustain important bird habitats.

Malheur Restoration Video



Travel Advisor

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!

Byrdie - a wood sculpture of a carp - will be covered with scales to help combat invasive common carp

Together, we can provide assistance and support to our Refuge to ensure the health of fish and wildlife by Scaling Back Carp. Purchasing a scale for Byrdie will directly support fish inventory and monitoring, fish collection and tagging, and other fisheries related work. Inquire at the Visitor Center located at Refuge Headquarters or by calling 541-493-2612.

Get Involved with the Refuge

The Refuge offers a variety of volunteer opportunities which contribute to the overall management of the Refuge. Members of the public can also join the Friends of Malheur National Wildlife 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

Last updated: August 20, 2014