Resource Management


Managing Chase Lake refuge presents some unique challenges. All but 230 acres of the 4,385 acres are designated as wilderness area, which restricts the use of motorized vehicles and equipment to protect and preserve the area's natural beauty and natural character.

Refuge administration and management is limited to maintaining and restoring the biological integrity, diversity, environmental health, and wilderness character of Chase Lake NWR. This is accomplished through understanding and acknowledging major ecosystem processes such as fire, drought, flooding, storms, pest and disease outbreaks, and predator/prey relationships are a part of the natural ecological and evolutionary processes.

Natural occurrences and cycles have shaped the landscape of Chase Lake NWR and its wildlife. From the towering glaciers that created the hills and the lake itself, to the drought of the 1930’s and 1980’s that lowered water levels maintaining the water’s salinity. Today the natural processes continue to change and shape Chase Lake NWR. Changes in precipitation have resulted in higher water levels, flooding of the historic nesting islands and creation of new nesting islands. The increased warming of the environment has resulted in species that have never nested this far north, beginning to nest at Chase Lake. These changes and their effects are being monitored to determine their impact to the refuge and it’s wildlife.

For thousands of years lightning caused wildfires and millions of grazing bison, helped to evolve and shape the mixed-grass prairie, today we use prescribe fire and cattle grazing to carry on this cycle that the prairie requires.

Limited wildlife surveys are conducted annually to determine the number and health of the colonial nesting birds at the refuge. 

Trapping Occurs on this Refuge.

Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some national wildlife refuges. Trapping may be used to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds or to control certain wildlife populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when there are harvestable surpluses of fur-bearing mammals. Outside of Alaska, refuges that permit trapping as a recreational use may require trappers to obtain a refuge special use permit. Signs are posted on refuges where trapping occurs. Contact the refuge manager for specific regulations.

Trapping on National Wildlife Refuges