European settlers were not the first inhabitants of the area. When Lake Ilo was drawn down in 1989 for dam repair, the lake bed was exposed revealing significant artifacts and a stone tipi ring. Archaeologists were brought in to investigate. They discovered valuable stone tools, flakes, worked cobbles, and hearth stones from prehistoric human activities. A survey team detected 13 prehistoric rock quarries, a workshop, and camp complexes. The lake bed had been inhabited by people at various times over the last 10,000 years.
Opportunities to explore, observe, and learn about wildlife are yours at Lake Ilo NWR. Birding, hiking, photography, and general wildlife observation are encouraged in areas of the Refuge that are open to the public. (Please refer to the Refuge map and signs for locations of these areas open to the public).
Learn More about Uncovering the Buried Past of Lake Ilo