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Formed by a series of geologic events, including lava flows and ice age floods, Turnbull provides a unique landscape of diverse habitats for many species of wildlife.

  • Wildlife Viewing Tips

    Kepple Overlook

    The patient observer will be rewarded with many wildlife viewing opportunities. Early morning and evening are the best times to observe wildlife.  Spring migration occurs from mid-March through mid-May and fall migration from September through November. Most waterfowl can be found on wetlands along the auto tour route.  A variety of other wildlife may be observed along the trails in the riparian, ponderosa pine forest, or grassland habitats.

    Binoculars, camera, field guides, water, and a lunch will contribute to a pleasant visit. Quietly listen for calls and songs and wait for wildlife to resume their activities. Use your car as a blind for wildlife viewing and photography. Observation blinds may be available to allow a close-up view of wildlife with minimal disturbance.

  • Aspen

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    Deciduous tree and shrub communities, including aspen, waterbirch, alder, and hawthorn, occur mostly as narrow bands along the edge of meadows and large sloughs, and around the margins of pothole wetlands of the Channeled Scablands.

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  • Wetlands

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    The wetland resources of the refuge rival or exceed the Prairie Pothole Region for wetland depth, size, and density in almost every category of wetland type. 

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  • Biscuit and Swale Prairies

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    This unique patterned ground is common in the flood tracts of the Channeled Scablands and is often referred to as biscuit and swale or mima mound prairie.

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  • Ponderosa Pine Woodlands

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    This fire adapted community covers over two thirds of the Refuge. Although few of the old growth trees with their pumpkin orange bark remain, refuge management is slowly restoring the open woodlands that once dominated this landscape.

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