Visitor Activities

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Clean water. Clean air. Unusual and abundant wildlife. World-class recreation. The Refuge System provides and protects it all on 150 million acres of land and water from the Caribbean to the Pacific, Maine to Alaska. There is at least one national wildlife refuge in every state.

  • Wildlife and Plant Viewing

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    Wildlife observation is the most popular activity for refuge visitors. From every state and all parts of the globe, about 40 million people visit the 556 National Wildlife Refuges each year, especially for the chance to see concentrations of wildlife and birds. The National Wildlife Refuge System’s extensive trail system, boardwalks, observation decks, hunting and photography blinds, fishing piers and boat launches encourage visitors to discover America’s best wildlife spectacles.

    Florence Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) offers viewing opportunities for birds and wildflowers during the spring, summer, and fall. Optimum periods for viewing waterfowl, water, and shorebirds are September through October and April through May. The best times of the day to view the wildlife are usually during the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset. Walking the federal owned public portion of the Refuge to view wildlife and plants is allowed. The flowering period extends from April through August. Collection is PROHIBITED. Birdwatchers may be authorized by special permit to place temporary viewing blinds within the Refuge. A Bird List is available at the Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, or via downloadable 987KB PDF here.

  • Interpretation

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    National Wildlife Refuges across the country provide opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to the natural world. Self-guided hikes and seasonal staff-led events help visitors learn more about the wildlife and habitats behind the landscapes.

    Interpretation is not offered at Florence Lake NWR; however, Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge provides periodic seasonal events. These events are free, geared for youth and adults, and provide wildlife viewing opportunities. Events typically coincide with International Migratory Bird Day, National Wildlife Refuge Week, and the Annual Christmas Bird Count.

  • Environmental Education

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    One of the most important roles National Wildlife Refuges serve is as an outdoor classroom. School groups, day care centers, 4-H clubs, and other organizations may visit the Refuge to learn about the natural environment. Refuge lands are available to educators, instructors, and students of all ages to increase understanding of the ecological significance of the area and develop a life-long appreciation of wetlands and associated biological diversity.

    Environmental education programs are not offered at Florence Lake NWR. Please contact the Long Lake NWR at 701-387-4397 to schedule a headquarters visit. Four education trunks offering topics on prairie, wetlands, shorebirds, and endangered species are available for use in the local area on a reservation basis.

  • Photography

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    National Wildlife Refuges across the country provide opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to the natural world. Self-guided hikes and seasonal staff-led events help visitors learn more about the wildlife and habitats behind the landscapes. Photography is allowed within the federally owned, public portion of the Refuge.