Wildfowl Lane (County Road)

Wildfowl Lane, looking north from Waterfowl Hunt Area Entrance

Kiosk at South End of Refuge-photoWildfowl Lane (Map-Figure 24 of Refuge CCP) is a Ravalli County road that travels almost 3 miles through the southern half of the refuge. This road loops through the refuge and connects at both ends to Eastside Highway. It is not an official auto tour route, but all refuge visitors use this road to access the refuge and view wildlife in the adjoining lands and wetland impoundments. There is a kiosk along the road inside the Refuge boundary on the south and east "ends" of the road. A map and interpretive sign are affixed to the kiosk.

Most of the road is gravel, but the southern third is tar and chip pavement, and the first 3,200 feet of the east end is coated with recycled asphalt chipping. Ravalli County is attempting to make the road more maintenance-free so that it requires less summer blading and fewer applications of anti-dust chemical. A caveat, after spring melt and/or summer rains, the road can become very "plastic" and slick due to the anti-dust chemical effect on the gravel.

A look at St. Mary's peak from Wildfowl LaneA superior feature of this road is the width—greater than 33 feet—so motorists can safely pull over and view wildlife and the landscape. Spectacular looks of the Sapphire and Bitterroot Mountains can be had. Automobiles also make great wildlife viewing blinds and with modern optics visitors can easily see wildlife from the road, causing minimal disturbance. This is especially true when parking on the road shoulder between Ponds 5 and 6; great views and photographs of waterbirds can be had there.

Refuge Headquarters (includes: Visitor Center, Amphitheater, Education Shelter, Education Pond and Maintenance Shop...at the east end of the juncture of Ponds 5 and 6) and the Whaley Homestead (directly south of Refuge Headquarters by 1/4 mile) both are easily accessed off the eastern segment of Wildfowl Lane.