Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice
Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you recreate responsibly.

  • Check alerts and local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information. Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
  • Consistent with CDC recommendations, all visitors (age 2 and older), who are fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask inside of federal buildings in areas of substantial or high community transmission.. All visitors who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick and continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and follow CDC guidance on how to protect yourself and others.

Make a Difference

Welcome Juliette Fernandez!


Help us welcome our new Project Leader for the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Juliette will be the primary manager in charge of your four local Refuges; Ridgefield, Steigerwald Lake, Franz Lake and Pierce. Juliette has dedicated her life to species protection, serving communities, and mentoring her staff. We will continue to be supported by Deputy Project Leader Eric Anderson, who has been filling both roles since last November. We are very excited to add her to our team and learn new ways to better serve you!

Learn more about Juliette here...

Refuge Stewards

Binos Gorge Stewards

Even though Franz Lake NWR is closed it does not mean you can not get involved to help conserve habitat and wildlife in the area. The best way to get involved is to help the Columbia Gorge Refuge Stewards, whose mission is to support the three refuges in the Columbia Gorge.

Learn More About the Refuge Stewards
Learn More

Wildlife From Afar


The Refuge is a popular place for wintering tundra swans, which may be viewed from an observation platform along State Route 14 near milepost 31.5. The refuge observation platform in the Columbia Gorge Scenic Area offers views of waterfowl and lush wetland landscapes amid a backdrop of the waterfalls and rugged canyon walls of the Columbia River Gorge. In keeping with the refuge's unique habitat attributes and wildlife value, public access to Franz Lake is limited to research and management needs.

What else can I see and photograph?

About the Complex

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Read more about the complex
About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS