About the Refuge



Preserving Vital Habitat of the Columbia River Estuary

Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge includes approximately 20 islands stretching over 27 miles (43.5 km) of the Columbia River, from the mouth upstream nearly to Skamakowa, WA. Although seldom visited by humans, people following in Lewis and Clark's footsteps (or paddles!) are discovering this little-known refuge.

The Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1972 to preserve the vital fish and wildlife habitat of the Columbia River estuary. Riverine islands there range from tidal sand flats and marshes to forested swamps and upland pasture. This combination supports large numbers of waterfowl, gulls, terns, wading birds, shorebirds, and a surprising variety of raptors and songbirds. The Lewis and Clark islands are only accessible by boat.

Named for the famed explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the landscape and rich wildlife of this Refuge have changed very little in the past 200 years. Modern-day explorers visit this refuge to experience its wilderness qualities and enjoy the abundant wildlife resources. Native species of migratory birds, wild salmon, and other native plants and animals thrive where natural processes take precedence within the varied habitats of Sitka spruce swamps, riparian forest, tidal marshes, mudflats, and sand bars typical of the Columbia River estuary.

Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 550 sites in the National Wildlife Refuge System, and one of 56 sites established to benefit threatened and endangered species. managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this system is a vital living heritage, conserving wildlife and habitat for people today and generations to come.