Consisting mainly of open water (the reservoir takes up 1,850 acres of the 2,542 acres of the refuge), visitors are restricted to the east and north edges of Pablo National Wildlife Refuge. Please take advantage of the outstanding opportunities available for wildlife observation, photography, and fishing. Hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are also permitted on the refuge, but please be mindful of regulations and closed areas, and comply with all posted signs.
Location and Contact Information
Located in the Mission Valley of northwestern Montana, lands within the refuge boundary were first withdrawn in 1910 for an irrigation reservoir as part of the Flathead Irrigation Project. Executive Order 3504 established the Pablo National Wildlife Refuge on this withdrawal in 1921, subject to reservoir uses. Established among the prairie potholes of the Mission Valley to be “….a refuge and breeding grounds for native birds”, refuge provides excellent breeding and staging habitat for abundant waterfowl and other water birds.
What We Do
Pablo Refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Refuge System is a living heritage, preserving wildlife and habitat for people today and generations to come. The Service works with neighboring land managers, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, to manage this Refuge as part of a larger wetland and upland vegetation community.
Pablo National Wildlife Refuge continues its mission as a refuge and breeding ground for native birds by being the initial release site for the successful restoration of Trumpeter Swans to the Mission Valley. These large white birds can be seen with some regularity throughout the potholes and waterways of the Valley.