U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Division of Refuge Planning
Mountain-Prairie Region

Completed Plan Contacts

The Service completed this plan
in 2004.




Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge
953 Jackson County Road # 32
Walden, Colorado 80480


970 / 723 8202




Comprehensive Conservation Plan

Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge



The comprehensive conservation plan sets the management and use of the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge for 15 years. The refuge is part of the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which includes four satellite refuges in Wyoming. At 8,200 feet above sea level, Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge is nestled in an intermountain glacial basin in north-central Colorado, locally known as North Park. This basin is surrounded by Mt. Zirkel Wilderness and Park Range to the west, Rabbit Ears Range to the south, Never Summer Mountain to the southeast, and the Medicine Bow Mountains to the east and north.

The purposes of the refuge are (1) to provide inviolate sanctuary for migratory birds, (2) to provide suitable fish- and wildlife-dependent recreation, and (3) for the development, advancement, management, conservation, and protection of fish and wildlife resources.

  • Established in 1967.
  • Comprises 23,243 acres.
  • Located directly south of the town of Walden, at the heart of Jackson County, Colorado.

Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge has four broad types of habitats: wetlands (both perennial and seasonal), wet meadows, riparian areas, and shrub–steppe uplands dominated by sagebrush, drought-tolerant perennial bunchgrasses, and forbs. The wetlands provide important migration and breeding habitat for waterfowl and other waterbirds, and riparian habitat provides important migration and breeding habitat for songbirds. Refuge uplands provide critical winter habitat for sharp-tailed grouse as well as for large mammals such as mule deer, elk, and pronghorn.

The following are major actions in the comprehensive conservation plan:

  • Focus habitat management on special status species, especially the North Park Phacelia plant, and wildlife such as sharp-tailed grouse, for which the refuge provides essential habitat.
 Image of the plan cover showing wetlands and uplands on the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge.

North Allard Pond, Illinois River, and the Zirkel Mountains. Cover photograph © Virginia Heitman

  • Improve water management and restore declining riparian habitat through restriction of herbivores such as deer, elk, and cattle.
  • Work to fulfill the purposes of the refuge, as well as its vision and goals, through concerted efforts and partnerships with private individuals, groups, and other Federal and Stateagencies throughout the North Park area.


Comprehensive conservation plan (CCP)
CCP 2004 (6 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Approval, contents, summary (PDF)
Chapter 1, introduction (2 MB PDF)
Chapter 2, planning process (PDF)
Chapter 3, refuge and resource descriptions (2 MB PDF)
Chapter 4, management direction (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 5, implementation and monitoring (PDF)
Chapter 6, socioeconomic analysis (PDF)
Appendices (2 MB PDF)

Draft CCP and environmental assessment (EA)
Draft CCP and EA 2003 (6 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Contents, summary (1 MB PDF)
Introduction/background (1 MB PDF)
Planning process (PDF)
Summary refuge and resource descriptions (1 MB PDF)
Management direction (PDF)
Implementation and monitoring (PDF)
Environmental assessment (2 MB PDF)
Appendices (1 MB PDF)