The refuge encompasses 1,238 acres of the Driftless Area in Iowa - a small portion of the entire Driftless Area. This area is also known as the karst region and boasts topography of steep slopes and cliffs carved by the boundary of the ancient glacial stampede. Here the glacial deposits found in most of the surrounding area are not present.

Visit Us

National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings. The Howard Creek, Fern Ridge and Pine Creek units are open to upland game and white-tailed deer hunting in accordance with state regulations. If you enjoy wildlife observation or photography these units are also open to those uses. The Fern Ridge unit is the only unit that is open to fishing.

Location and Contact Information

      Our Species

      Algific (cold air) talus (loose rock) slopes occur in the karst region of portions of Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois. These areas are referred to as the “Driftless Area” because they escaped the last glacial event about 12,000 years ago. These steep slopes and cliffs remain cool throughout the year and are home to rare species of plants and animals such as the Iowa Pleistocene snail and northern monkshood.