Upcoming Public Events

  • Sandhill Crane Fly-in Events at Merced NWR

    Join us at the Merced National Wildlife Refuge for Saturday evening crane fly-ins.

    November 17 at 4:00 p.m.
    December 15 at 3:45 p.m.
    January 19 at 4:15 p.m.
    February 16 at 4:45 p.m.

    Merced National Wildlife Refuge
    7430 W. Sandy Mush Rd, Merced CA – Meet at the main entrance information kiosk accessed from Sandy Mush Road.

    The lesser sandhill cranes are settling in for their winter stay at the Merced NWR and perhaps the best time to view them is when they return to the refuge at sundown in mass numbers to roost for the night. We will provide several opportunities throughout the winter for visitors to spend some time with staff to experience the spectacle that is the evening fly-in.

    Note that the times are all different reflecting the lengthening daylight hours. Participants should meet at the time indicated, at the main entrance kiosk of the Merced NWR on Sandy Mush Road, south of Merced. There will be an introduction with some natural history of the sandhill crane. Then visitors will carpool along the auto tour route to a great vantage point from which to watch the cranes make their nightly return to their roosting sites in the refuge wetlands.

    It is not necessary to sign-up or pre-register for these events. There is no charge to participate. For questions or driving directions, please call 209/826-3508.

    Additional information about the refuge and driving directions can be found here. It is recommended visitors bring binoculars, spotting scopes, or cameras and dress warmly!

    Please join us for one of nature’s great winter spectacles in the San Joaquin Valley!

  • December 8, 2018: Goose Day at San Joaquin River NWR

    Join us for the 2nd annual Goose Day at the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge on December 8th! The San Joaquin River NWR has played an important role in one of the most astounding endangered species success stories – the recovery of the Aleutian Cackling Goose, a species that was believed to be extinct between 1938 and 1962. Join us at the Refuge to learn about the wildlife management and conservation actions that saved these geese from extinction and led to a present day population of approximately 170,000 birds!

    Beginning at 8:00 a.m. - Driving Tours on Rotational Basis (Advanced Sign-up Required)
    Activities on December 8th will begin at the Beckwith Road wildlife observation platform at 8:00 a.m. where visitors will be provided a special guided auto tour in Refuge vans through the nearby wetlands to observe the geese and scores of other waterbirds and wildlife that make their winter home at the San Joaquin River NWR. Due to the nature of refuge roads and to minimize disturbance to wildlife, we will be using refuge vans, which have limited seating. Auto tours will be leaving the Beckwith parking lot on rotational basis between 8:00 - 10:00 a.m. All participants must phone the Refuge Complex office (209/826-3508) to reserve a spot. There is no fee for this event. Each tour will last approximately 45 minutes.

    The Beckwith Road wildlife observation platform is located at:
    10990 Beckwith Road, Modesto, CA 95358. Driving directions can be found on the refuge website (www.fws.gov/refuge/san_joaquin_river/driving_directions.html).

    1:00 p.m. Nature Walk
    Following the wetland auto tour, there will be a guided nature walk at 1:00 p.m. along the Refuge’s Pelican Nature Trail that meanders through the riparian and wetland habitats of the Refuge’s southern portion. Meet at the Pelican trailhead parking lot off of Dairy Road at 1:00. There is no sign-up or pre-registration required for the nature walk.

    The Pelican Nature Trail is located at:
    2417 Dairy Road, Vernalis, CA 95385

    Feel welcome to come for both events or just one.

    Please contact the Refuge Complex at 209/826-3508 with any questions or to reserve a spot on the driving tour. We hope to see you there!

  • Photography Exhibit at the San Luis NWRC Visitor Center: Wildlife of the San Joaquin River NWR

    Photography Exhibit: Wildlife and Scenery from the San Joaquin River NWR by Rick Kimble on Display at the San Luis NWR Visitor Center

    7376 S. Wolfsen Road, Los Banos CA 93635  

    The San Luis NWR Complex is pleased to announce a special showing of wildlife photos by photographer Rick Kimble, an avid photographer and regular visitor to the Complex.

  • Contact Us

    Contact the Refuge Complex headquarters at 209/826-3508 with questions. The Visitor Center is open daily from 8am - 4:30pm.