U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
134 UNION BOULEVARD
LAKEWOOD, COLORADO 80228
February 21, 1996
Michael Smith 303-236-9905
Sharon Rose 303-236-7905
Terry Sexson 303-236-7905
Draft Management Plan for
Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge Announced
A planning process that began with an open house in Phillipsburg in August, 1994, will soon
yield its long awaited results. The Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge's comprehensive management
plan will be released today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced from its
Denver, Colorado regional headquarters.
The purpose of the comprehensive management plan is to guide the direction of refuge
management for the next 10-15 years.
"After looking closely at the many unresolved recreational issues," said Ralph O.
Morgenweck, the Service's Regional Director, "we decided there is a real need to complete a
comprehensive management plan. We want a plan that will address all aspects of refuge
management and provide a blueprint for future managers and refuge users."
As part of the long-term process, a citizens' committee was formed in January 1995 to better
understand the recreational issues and help the Service identify prospective solutions.
The comprehensive management plan soon to be released identifies four alternatives evaluated
by the Service, including:
traditional refuge management with improved recreational facilities and environmental
current management with no change in public uses or public facilities and divestiture of a
portion of the refuge;
custodial management without any public uses; and
management for native species only.
The Service's preferred alternative is traditional refuge management (alternative 1) including:
seasonal opening of the Solomon arm of the reservoir to non-motorized boats;
improved access for physically-challenged refuge users;
improved boat access facilities;
increased interpretive programs and emphasis on educational use of the refuge;
no change in hunting or fishing programs;
improved camping facilities, but with a reduction from 12 areas to 4, with a
retention of current total camper capacity;
seasonal closure of some roads during critical wildlife use periods;
improvement of shoreline use by people and wildlife by establishment of a no-wake
zone within 100 yards of the shoreline;
establishment of a no-wake zone throughout the Bow Creek arm of Kirwin
At one point, the Service had strongly considered closure of most of the reservoir to water
skiing and personal water craft, but chose to implement a no-wake zone along the shoreline as a
means of protecting shoreline use by wildlife as well as protecting the recreational fishing for
shore fishermen. The Service will monitor the effect and enforceability of the no-wake zone.
"I want to emphasize," Morgenweck noted, "that the Service strongly supports wildlife-oriented recreation on national wildlife refuges. We believe this comprehensive management plan
for Kirwin underscores that commitment."
After the plan is released, the public will have a 45-day comment period. Copies of the
document will be available for public review at libraries in Phillipsburg, Kirwin, and Smith Center,
as well as the refuge headquarters. At the present time, the Service hopes to schedule and host a
public open house to answer questions about the plan sometime in March. Details on scheduling
will be announced later.