About the Refuge

Hailstone National Wildlife Refuge is one of four satellite national wildlife refuges in central Montana that are part of the Charles M. Russell Complex. Satellite refuges are unstaffed national wildlife refuges which have been established by Executive Order.

Hailstone NWR is a 920-acre refuge that was initially established as an easement refuge in 1942 to provide a rest stop and breeding ground for migratory waterfowl. In 1980, the Service purchased this Refuge. Hailstone Lake is a natural basin that was enhanced to 300 acres in the 1930’s under the Works Project Administration. Over the years heavy metals and salts accumulated in the reservoir and surrounding soil due to natural evaporation. In 2011, the earthen dam was removed to once again create a flow through system.

Greasewood grows in the saline soils whereas native grasses flourish on the less saline soils. Wildlife species include waterfowl, pronghorn, and prairie dogs. Many other small mammals exist along with horned lizards (often referred to as horned toads), and rattlesnakes. The refuge is open to hunting of migratory game birds, upland game birds, and big game as well as hiking and wildlife observation.

Hailstone NWR is managed by staff of Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in Lewistown, MT and is one of over 550 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System - a network of public lands administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service set aside to conserve wildlife and habitat for people today and generations to come.