Skip Navigation

About the Refuge


Cibola was part of the ancestral and traditional home of the Yuma Tribes of the Colorado River, principally the Mohave and Quechan.

The tribes farmed the river floodplain, which flooded annually depositing rich soils for crops. Following each harvest, the people left the river to hunt and gather wild plants in the neighboring desert uplands, returning to plant crops after the spring floods had subsided.

In the 1800s, steamers plied the Colorado River with staples of food and supplies to the small regional settlements of farmers, ranchers, and miners. The origin of the name Cibola is unknown, but it is probably derived from the steamboat landing and community of Cibola where the steamers unloaded freight and took on wood for their boilers.

In 1964, the 18,444-acre refuge was purchased by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the historic habitat and provide wintering grounds for migratory birds and other wildlife. Today, visitors can enjoy wildlife-dependent recreation, including wildlife watching and photography, hunting, fishing and environmental education programs.

Cibola Refuge is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, a national network of lands and waters managed for the benefit of wildlife, habitat and you.
Page Photo Credits — Egret flying over wetlands / George Gentry ©
Last Updated: Aug 13, 2014
Return to main navigation