U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Division of Refuge Planning
Mountain-Prairie Region

Completed Plan Contacts

The Service completed this plan
in 2008.



Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge
c/o Arapaho Refuge Complex
953 JC Road #32
Walden, Colorado 80480


970 / 723 8202



Comprehensive Conservation Plan

Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge



The comprehensive conservation plan sets the management and use of Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge for 15 years. The refuge is located in central Wyoming in a high plains basin and provides water in this semi-arid environment, which is important for resting and nesting waterfowl and other migratory birds. The National Audubon Society has designated Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge as an Important Bird Area.

The purpose of the refuge is to serve "as a refuge and breeding ground for birds and other wildlife" (Executive Order 7425).

  • Established through five executive orders from 1909 to 1939.
  • Comprises 16,806 acres.
  • Located 47 miles southwest of Casper, Wyoming, in Carbon and Natrona counties.

The refuge consists of four separate units—Deweese Creek, Goose Bay, Sage Creek, and Sweetwater Arm—with open water, wetland, upland, and alkali flat habitats. The refuge overlies portions of the Bureau of Reclamation's Pathfinder Reservoir. Waterbirds such as willet, American avocet, and great blue heron use refuge wetlands, and the uplands provide habitat for pronghorn, mule deer, sage grouse, and other species. A State-listed rare plant, slender spiderflower, is present at the Sweetwater Arm unit.

Major actions in the comprehensive conservation plan follow:

  • Focus management on conservation of the ecological diversity of uplands and wetlands to support healthy populations of native wildlife, with an emphasis on migratory birds.
  • Coordinate with the Bureau of Reclamation to modify the refuge boundary (decrease refuge acreage) to concentrate Service resources on quality habitat for migratory birds.
Image of the plan cover showing two pronghorns standing in a shrub upland.

Plan cover showing two pronghorns in upland habitat.

  • Provide wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities when the administration of these programs does not adversely affect habitat management.
  • Work with partners to support healthy populations of native wildlife and increase understanding of wildlife needs and benefits of wildlife to the public.
  • Identify and evaluate cultural resources and protect those that are determined to be significant.



Comprehensive conservation plan (CCP)
2008 (27 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Approval, contents, summary (PDF)
Chapter 1, introduction (7 MB PDF)
Chapter 2, the refuge (2 MB PDF)
Chapter 3, refuge resources and description
(5 MB PDF)

Chapter 4, management direction (3 MB PDF)
Appendixes (11 MB PDF)

Draft CCP and environmental assessment (EA)
Draft CCP and EA 2008 (13 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Contents, summary (PDF)
Chapter 1, introduction (PDF)
Chapter 2, the refuge (PDF)
Chapter 3, alternatives (3 MB PDF)
Chapter 4, affected environment (4 MB PDF)
Chapter 5, environmental consequences (PDF)
Chapter 6, implementation of the proposed action (1 MB PDF)
Appendixes (5 MB PDF)