Laying Fire Down for a Prescribed Burn
Auto Tour Route and Fire Season

The Big Stone NWR Auto Tour Route should open this evening (4/12/2024)! However, it may be closed for short periods in the weeks to come due to spring maintenance (a beaver dam is starting to flood the main road) and fire activities.

As you enjoy the refuge, please keep an eye out for orange "Prescribed Burn Ahead" signs. We use fire as a natural management tool to promote the growth of native grasses and wildflowers, to suppress non-native species, and to maintain open landscapes for grassland-dependent song birds and waterfowl. If you see an orange sign or active fire crews, please choose enjoy the refuge from a new location. All of our gravel maintenance roads are open to the public year round, or you can venture off trail. Please don't park to block locked access gates.

Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge was originally purchased by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on May 21, 1975. The refuge currently includes 11,586 acres in Big Stone and Lac qui Parle Counties, in Minnesota.

Visit Us

The Auto Tour Route is open the first Monday in April to the first Monday in December unless otherwise noted in the alerts on our Home Page.  

Connect with your natural heritage as you experience wildlife, diverse habitats and magnificent granite outcrops at Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge.

Location and Contact Information

      A refuge volunteer helps repair a boardwalk
      Seeking Volunteers!

      We are seeking volunteers to help with seasonal activities on the Refuge. These include regular maintenance tasks, mowing, trail improvements, invasive species invasive species
      An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

      Learn more about invasive species
      treatment, and more. Come join us out on the prairie!

      What We Do

      Cows examine the camera while standing in a grassland

      Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge will be allowing cattle grazing on two units of the Refuge beginning in 2024. Grazing unit descriptions, requirements, and maps can be found in the bid packet. Cooperators are responsible for following all terms and conditions identified in the requirements and...

      An old, red, closed-cab tractor pulls a green round-baler on a waterfowl production area.

      Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge and Wetland Management District are offering 17 haying opportunities. Haying is used to manage grassland habitat by providing more diverse vegetation structure for nesting birds and other species. Hay units range in size from approximately 10 to 266 acres....

      Our Organization

      A bright blue sky obstructed by fluffy white clouds reflected off of a stream shot from inside a kayak
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 570 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth.