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  • Mardon Skipper Promo

    Mardon Skippers

    Small and seldom seen, the Mardon skipper is having a tough time hanging on in Washington. Conboy Lake NWR is one of its last strongholds.

    Mardon Skipper

  • Elk In Aspen Promo

    Rocky Mountain Elk

    Massive antlers, bodies weighing up to 700 pounds, shaggy manes, distinctive calls—it's no wonder everyone loves elk.

    Rocky Mountain Elk

  • Sandhill Cranes Promo 2

    Sandhill Cranes

    Wolves and geese notwithstanding, the call of a Sandhill crane is the call of the wild.

    Sandhill Cranes

  • Western Gray Squirrel Promo

    Western Gray Squirrel

    However you might feel about squirrels—love 'em, hate 'em—the fact remains this is a species that needs our help.

    Western Gray Squirrel

Want To Know About . . .

Watching Wildlife

Deer Illustration

Want to see more animals on your trip to Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge? Here are some tips from the "experts."

Watching Wildlife

About the Complex

Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuges

The Mid-Columbia River Refuges are eight refuges within the Columbia Basin.

Conboy Lake is managed as part of the Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuges.

Learn more about the complex 

About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS  

Follow NWRS Online


Enjoying Conboy Lake

  • Summer

    Sandhill Crane Colt

    June and July are possibly the most exciting months at Conboy Lake. The refuge is in full bloom after a long winter. A variety of birds and butterflies are active, and the forest floor, along with the wetlands, is covered with wildflowers. It is the lucky early morning visitors that glimpse new born elk calves and fuzzy orange greater Sandhill crane colts. Mid-July and August we will be busy banding the new colts to identify them before they fledge. Our easy trail lets you traverse along the wetlands, past the aspens and into the forest for a wonderful adventure, or you can bring a lunch, dine at the picnic tables and listen to the quiet.

  • How Did Conboy Lake Get It’s Name?

    Captain George McClellan

    From an early settler named Peter Conboy. There’s an interesting phenomenon where everyone with a surname of “Conboy” wants to know how Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge got its name. We’ve got it on our web site, but to make it easier for all you Conboys out there, follow the link below. The story of Conboy Lake is on page 2 under “Euro-American Settlement.” (BTW: That’s Captain George McClellan, one of the early arrivals to the valley. There are no known photos of Peter Conboy.)

    Cultural Resources
Page Photo Credits — Elk Herd - Lisa Wilson, Mardon Skipper Butterfly - Stefan Flores, Oregon Spotted Frog - Gary Nafis, Elk in Aspen - Pam Morris, Sandhill Crane - Marvin De Jong, Western Gray Squirrel - Debra Turner, Sandhill Crane Colt - Dan Irizarry, Whitcomb-Cole Hewn Log House - Chuck and Grace Bartlett 
Last Updated: Jul 21, 2016
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