More About the Refuge
Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge, located within a high plains basin ecosystem known as the Laramie Basin, is one of over 560 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System - a network of lands set aside and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service specifically for wildlife. The Refuge is managed as part of the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge Complex. It is situated in the southern part of the Laramie plain; a high elevation, dry grassland surrounded by mountains. The shallow depressions of the basin, within the relatively flat topography of the region, support wetland complexes, including marsh and lakes, that are unique to the semiarid area. The Refuge sits at an elevation of 7,150 feet and has five small lakes on it - Hutton, Creighton, George, Rush and Hoge. The upland vegetation consists of short grasses and sagebrush.
Visits to the Refuge occur mostly from March through October because wildlife viewing opportunities and refuge access are limited from November through February due to frozen ponds and cold, snowy weather.
In the early 1930's, J. Clark Salyer III was charged with identifying areas to protect as national wildlife refuges for migratory birds. Hutton Lake NWR was one of two locations he chose after surveying the land surrounding Laramie, Wyoming and as a result the Refuge was established by Executive Order 5782 on January 28,1932. Originally, 153 acres were withdrawn from the public domain for the establishment of this Refuge. Additional lands were purchased with Migratory Bird funds in 1933 and 1939. In 1940, 147 acres were exchanged which completed the current size.
During the 1960's, the Headquarters for the Laramie Plains refuges was located in the Wyoming Farm Bureau office in Laramie, Wyoming. Upon the 1967 establishment of the Arapaho NWR in Walden, Colorado; it was moved to there and the Laramie Plains refuges have been managed as part of the Arapaho NWR Complex.
The wetland complexes and uplands of Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge, one of three Laramie Plains refuges, are important resource components of this semiarid region that provide key habitat for migratory birds and resident wildlife. The refuge is currently being evaluated to direct management decisions that will provide natural and enhanced habitat. Wildlife and their habitats come first in the management of the Refuge, before all other uses. The Refuge and its resources are also managed for the benefit of the citizens of the United States. Through wildlife-dependent recreation and education, people have opportunities to learn of the wonder and significance of the Laramie Basin's fauna and flora.