Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1993 under the Endangered Species Act to support the last known population of the Wyoming toad. The Refuge encompasses 1,968 acres and is located southwest of Laramie, Wyoming. The four main lakes on the Refuge are associated with a series of high elevation lakes called the Laramie Plains Lakes - Mortenson Lake, Soda Lake and Gibbs Pond. Habitat types include open water, wetlands, wet meadow, grassland, sagebrush, and greasewood communities. The Refuge is administered out of Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge in Walden, Colorado. No public use is currently allowed on the refuge to prevent potential adverse impact on the Wyoming toad.

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Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge is closed to the public due to the endangered status of the Wyoming toad. 

However, Wyoming Game and Fish Department has public access nearby at Meeboer Lake, Gelatt Lake, and Twin Buttes Public Access Areas.

Location and Contact Information

      Our Species

      The last-remaining wild Wyoming toad population survives in a tiny oasis at Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge, which was established in 1993 specifically to protect the two-inch-long toad. Here the toad lives in isolation—hidden from view in the shortgrass prairie communities within the river basin, in the flood plain, and in the ponds, oxbows, wetland and riparian riparian
      Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

      Learn more about riparian
      habitats on the refuge. From 1985 to 1987, the species was presumed extinct; however, the discovery of a viable population in 1987 sparked new hope. However, in 2011 only one Wyoming toad was able to be found in the wild. Thus a new approach of habitat management and captive breeding began and has yielded better results. The Wyoming toad persists with the unfortunate title as the most endangered amphibian in North America, but we are learning more about the species and its habitat needs.

      adult wyoming toad swimming among aquatic vegetation

      At its full size, the Wyoming toad is only two inches long. This toad looks lumpy - its body is covered with warts and its head has a humped ridge. The skin is various shades of brown - perfect for blending in and escaping would-be predators.