Marla Bennett, 509-488-3140
Visitors Discover A Place Where Wildlife Comes Naturally
The breeze stirs the fallen leaves and brushes them across the gravel path that winds down toward the water as visitors watch the geese heading south for their yearly migration. This week marks our yearly celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff are welcoming visitors out to the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge this blustery season.
"The refuge is open year-round for hiking and wildlife viewing, and for fishing and hunting during appropriate seasons,” said Rich Albers, Refuge Manager. "I'm proud to show off our new offices and visitor center, located on the refuge at 51 S. Morgan Lake Road, just 6 miles northwest of Othello, Washington."
The wildlife refuge encompasses nearly 30,000 acres, and is a mixture of rugged cliffs, canyons, lakes and sagebrush grasslands. Wildlife is present on the refuge all year. Regular visitors to the refuge enjoy seeing the changes brought about by the seasons. Wildflowers are beautiful in spring, breeding birds delight during the hot months, rabbitbrush blooms yellow in fall as the summer birds depart for warmer climates, while waterfowl are abundant in winter. Some parts of the refuge are closed during winter to provide sanctuary for wintering waterfowl.
To reach the refuge, drive 5.5 miles west of Othello on McManamon Road. Turn right on Morgan Lake Road, and the turnoff to refuge headquarters is to the right in a half mile. The visitor center is open between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. when staff is present. “We want to be available to the public as much as possible,” said Marla Bennett, Visitors Services Specialist. “We are looking for volunteers who might be willing to spend time in the office as well as help out in other areas.” Call 509-488-3140 for information on the refuge or volunteering.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
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