There are many of fun, interesting, and educational things you can do on the refuge. Keep in mind, if an activity is not wildlife related and doesn’t help in the protection or understanding of wildlife or their habitat, there are probably refuge rules governing this activity. Learn more about the rules guiding Refuge activities to have a fund and enjoyable visit.
Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to see prairie wildlife. Early morning or just before sunset are the best times to observe wildlife.
Some things you might want to bring with you on your visit are:
- Binoculars for viewing wildlife.
- Insect repellant
- Snacks or food to enjoy at our picnic areas.
- Trash bag to pack out your trash. (No trash bins available. Pack out what you pack in, leave no trace.
Weather can change quickly on the prairie. Spring and fall temperatures may be hot or cold, or both in a single day. Best to bring jackets or layer your clothing to adjust to the temperatures. Winter can be extremely cold. Summers may be hot with high humidity. Make sure to dress appropriately for the season.
As diverse as the birds and wildlife, Kirwin NWR offers many opportunities for recreation. Whether it’s driving, hiking, bicycling, fishing, or hunting you will have the chance to experience the prairie habitats and its wildlife at the Refuge. Get acquainted with the wildlife and their habitats through the interpretive exhibits at the visitor center located in the Refuge headquarters building.
If you have 15-minutes.
- Stop by the visitor center or informational kiosk and pick up a current refuge brochure.
If you have one hour.
- Drive the auto-tour route and enjoy the pristine wildlife and habitats the refuge has to offer.
If you have half a day or more.
- Utilize the refuge to your full advantage by participating in some of the most popular activities that we are known for: hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, environmental education, and interpretation. Focus on the two National Historic Trails and walking through the prairie.
Bring binoculars and quietly walk the Refuge on one of two hard-surfaced trails or along the roads around the reservoir. Enjoy wildlife and wildflowers along these walks.
A one-half mile hard-surfaced wildlflower trail is located at Crappie Point on the south side of the Refuge. It loops through the grassland, and during the month of June, it is alive with a wonderful array of blooming wildflowers.
At Prairie Dog Town, you may enjoy a one-quarter mile trail through a prairie dog ecosystem. The prairie dog that is present on the Refuge is the black-tailed species, which, as the name indicates, has a black-tipped tail. These prairie dogs live in densely populated colonies or "towns," and are scattered across the Great Plains from northern Mexico to southern Canada. Benches are available along the paths to rest and enjoy the solitude.
Other Facilities in the Complex
Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge and Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District are managed out of the Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District office. Both Kirwin NWR and the Rainwater Basin WMD have similar habitat conservation needs, and combining these areas assists in providing consistency and effectively utilizing human and capital resources for both locations.
Rules and Policies
There are many of fun, interesting, and educational things you can do on the refuge. Keep in mind, if an activity is not wildlife related and doesn’t help in the protection or understanding of wildlife or their habitat, there are probably refuge rules governing this activity.
Refuge rules and regulations are necessary for the protection of visitors, and wildlife and their habitats. Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge is subject to Federal, State, and local laws and regulations. The Refuge is patrolled by Federal Law Enforcement Officers, State Game Wardens, and County Deputies. All violations of Refuge regulations are subject to a fine, arrest, or both.
Please check with refuge management before participating in an activity that could harm the environment or yourself. Be safe and enjoy your National Wildlife Refuge.
The Refuge visitor center is located 6 miles east of Glade, Kansas, on State Highway 9 and 1 mile south on 700 Road.