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Refuge System - Planning
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Comprehensive Conservation Plan

Bamforth, Hutton Lake, and Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuges—Wyoming

Refuge descriptions | The plan | documents | Open / close All

Image of the plan cover showing wetlands at each refuge.

The comprehensive conservation plan sets the management and use of Bamforth, Hutton Lake, and Mortenson Lake national wildlife refuges for 15 years. The refuges lie in the semi-arid, high plains of the Laramie Basin in southwestern Wyoming (Albany County). Shallow depressions within the relatively flat topography support unique wetland complexes that provide resting, nesting, and breeding areas for migratory birds.

The three refuges are part of the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge Complex; it is headquartered near Walden, Colorado, about 65 miles southwest of Laramie, Wyoming.

Completed Plan Contacts

The Service completed this plan in 2007.


Refuge Complex Address

Bamforth, Hutton Lake, and Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuges
c/o Arapaho Refuge Complex
953 JC Road #32
Walden, Colorado 80480


Refuge Complex Telephone

970 / 723 8202

Refuge Complex Email

arapaho@fws.gov

Refuge Complex Websites

About the Complex
Mortenson Lake NWR


Refuge descriptions »

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Bamforth National Wildlife Refuge
The purpose of the refuge is to provide "a refuge and breeding ground for birds and wild animals" (Executive Order 5783).

  • Established in 1932.
  • Comprises 1,166 acres.
  • Located 6 miles northwest of Laramie, Wyoming.

The refuge consists of three separate tracts, with private or State lands between them. The refuge contains portions of Bamforth Lake, but most of the lake falls outside the refuge boundary. The fragmented parcels, closed basin hydrology, and minimal water rights have contributed to the lack of active management of this refuge. The Service does not allow public use at the refuge.


Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge
The purpose of the refuge is to provide "a refuge and breeding ground for birds and wild animals" (Executive Order 5782).

  • Established in 1932.
  • Comprises 1,928 acres.
  • Located 10 miles southwest of Laramie, Wyoming.

With some water rights at the refuge, the Service manages Lake George and Creighton, Hutton, Hoge, and Rush lakes for migratory birds. About 2,000 visitors come to the refuge each year, mostly from March through October. Wildlife-viewing opportunities and refuge access are limited from November through February due to frozen ponds and cold, snowy weather.


Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge
The purpose of the refuge is to conserve fish or wildlife listed as endangered or threatened species. The refuge was established to protect the last known population of the Wyoming toad, which was listed as an endangered species in 1984.

  • Established in 1993.
  • Comprises 1,968 acres.
  • Located 15 miles southwest of Laramie, Wyoming.

Physical features of the refuge include Mortenson Lake, Soda Lake, and Gibbs Pond. Habitat types include open water, wetlands, wet meadow, grassland, sagebrush, and greasewood communities. The Service does not allow public use at the refuge to prevent potential adverse effects on the Wyoming toad.

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The plan »

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Major actions in the comprehensive conservation plan follow:

  • Work with partners to determine wildlife and habitat resources, maximize wildlife habitat protection, 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.
  • At Bamforth National Wildlife Refuge, conduct baseline surveys to identify resources and the role they serve in the Laramie Basin ecosystem.
  • At Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge, manage impoundments and other wetlands to create diverse habitat for wetland-dependent wildlife.
  • At Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge, provide wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities when the administration of these programs does not adversely affect habitat management.
  • At Hutton Lake and Mortenson Lake national wildlife refuges, gather baseline biological information to guide management of uplands for migratory birds, white-tailed prairie dogs, pronghorn, and other wildlife.
  • At Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge, manage refuge lands around Mortenson Lake and other areas to protect, create, and manage habitat suitable for Wyoming toad.


Documents »

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: November 14, 2019
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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