General Refuge Activities and Purpose
Maps and Permits
Hunting, Fishing and Trapping
Camping and Campfires
Safety, Communications and Emergencies
Boats and Water Levels
Refuge Friends and Volunteers
Wyoming Junior Duck Stamp Program
General Refuge Activities and Purpose
- What is there to see and do at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR)?
Many people think the word "refuge" means only for wildlife and people stay out. This level of protection may be needed on some National Wildlife Refuges, such as where endangered or sensitive species cannot tolerate human disturbance. Fortunately, Seedskadee NWR has abundant wildlife and limited visitation due to the remote location. This has allowed for the public to participate in certain wildlife dependent recreational activities that have been determined to be compatible with the purposes for establishing Seedskadee NWR.
Wildlife observation and photography are two of the most popular activities at Seedskadee NWR. Visitors can expect to see a wide array of wildlife on the refuge. You may download a copy of our Wildlife Brochure through the link under the Visit Us section for Activities and Wildlife Watching. The wildlife list includes a list of species that may be found here, the seasons to likely see that species, their relative abundance in each season, and some viewing tips. The auto tour route provides visitors a quick preview of the refuge flora and fauna on a maintained gravel road with signs and pullouts. Stopping often and looking with binoculars will increase your chances of spotting wildlife. For those looking to get some exercise, the entire refuge is open to hiking and wildlife viewing. One designated trail, the Flicker Trail, starts at headquarters. The trail is fairly flat, but not surfaced, and starts by following our service road to the banks of the Green River. The trail then meanders around our developed wetland units and through the area. If you are looking for particular species, such as sage grouse or moose, contact us or stop by headquarters. Staff might be able to give you advice on where and when to look. Picnic tables are also provided at headquarters and at the head of the Flicker Trail on the banks of the Green River.
Hunting and Fishing are also popular wildlife dependent activities. See the section below on Hunting and Fishing for more specific FAQs or visit the Visit Us and What We Do pages for more information. For most of the year, visitors can expect to find solitude and a memorable experience while hunting or fishing along this stretch of the magnificent Green River.
Environmental Education is another popular activity. Our Environmental Education Center (also referred to as the Visitor's Center) is available for all schools and groups to use. A large meeting or classroom with tables, chairs and a kitchen is available in addition to the interactive and educational displays about the refuge. Although we have a small staff, we will do our best to accommodate requests for guided activities for groups. Calling in advance will increase the likelihood that staff members are available. The public is also welcome to spend time viewing our interactive displays and learning about the refuge and its wildlife at the Environmental Education Center / Visitor's Center. Many species of wildlife can be observed from our back deck: moose, deer, bald eagles, sandhill cranes, coyotes, and sage grouse to name a few. The Visitor Center is open Monday through Friday 7:30 am to 4:00 pm excluding Federal holidays. For special occasions outside of business hours please call ahead to make arrangements.
Seedskadee NWR is situated in an area rich with history. The name Seedskadee (sisk-a-dee-agie) is believed to be a Shoshone or Crow name for "River of the Prairie Hen". Native Americans observed some of the same things centuries ago that visitors today can see, sage grouse moving to the Green River in numbers during the hot and dry summer months. We have found evidence that many small bands of Natives lived, hunted, fished, and traveled along the banks of the Green River. Later during the fur trade era of the early 1800s, this area was famous for its abundance of beaver. Jedediah Smith trapped beaver and Jim Bridger opened a trading post for a short period on areas that are now part the refuge. Many of the emigrant trails, including the Oregon, Mormon, and California Trails and the famous Pony Express passed through the refuge. A number of remains from structures of these past eras can be still be found, allowing visitors to imagine what life might have been like more than 100 years ago. Visit our History of the Refuge page or pick up our Historical Brochure from the headquarters and visitor's center when you visit to help you learn more about the rich history of the area.
- Why is there a National Wildlife Refuge here?
Seedskadee NWR was established in 1965 through the Colorado River Storage Act and the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act to mitigate for the effects of the construction of Fontenelle and Flaming Gorge Dams. Wetland and riparian habitat that had previously been seasonally flooded due to the natural hydrology of the river were now flooded under permanent water above the dams and no longer seasonally flooded below the dams. Much of the work on Seedskadee NWR has attempted to replace and maintain this critically important wetland and riparian habitat.
Maps and Permits
- Is there a map of the refuge that is available?
Yes. You can find the maps link on the left side of this page, under 'visit us'. Also our general brochure and hunting/fishing brochures both have maps. Maps are available at the refuge headquarters in the public restroom front foyer or at the visitors center.
- How do I get a copy of a map and regulations?
Maps, regulations and other helpful information is available through various links on the left side of this page. If you do not have access to a printer or are having issues opening the files, either contact us or stop in at headquarters when you get to the refuge.
- How do I get a permit to guide/outfit on the refuge?
Outfitting and guiding activities are strictly regulated on the refuge. Fishing and floating outfitting permits are currently limited to four, all of which are issued.
The refuge currently does not allow commercial guiding for any hunting activities.
Hunting, Fishing and Trapping
- What can I hunt for on the refuge?
Hunting is allowed for big game (elk, white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose, pronghorn antelope), migratory game birds (ducks, coots, dark geese, light geese, mergansers, snipe, rails, mourning doves), upland game birds (sage grouse) and upland game (cottontail rabbits, skunks, red fox, jackrabbits, and raccoons) in accordance with Wyoming Game and Fish Department seasons and regulations. Shooting of any species not listed above is prohibited. Visit our activities page, under hunting, for more information.
- Are there areas that are closed to hunting on the Refuge?
Yes. An area of about 1,300 acres on the west side of the Green River near headquarters is closed to all hunting. An area of about 1,000 acres on the west side of the Green River south of Highway 28 is closed to migratory bird hunting. The boundaries of both units are signed accordingly. A map and our Hunting and Fishing Regulations may be obtained through the previous link, by contacting us, or you can pick one up at our headquarter and public restrooms front foyer.
- Can I hunt on the islands?
Hunting is allowed on the islands, except islands that are part of the closed area near headquarters. These islands are designated as part of the closed area and are shaded accordingly on the Hunting and Fishing Brochure map and signed accordingly. Look for the "Closed to Hunting" signs that mark the boundary of the unit closed to hunting. Visit our Rules and Regulations page under What We Do section for an overview of refuge signs and their meanings.
- Can I hunt antelope (pronghorn) on the Refuge?
Yes. We allow pronghorn antelope hunting in accordance with Wyoming Game and Fish Department regulations and with the required Wyoming Game and Fish Department hunting license and Conservation Stamp. The refuge is a small part of a much larger pronghorn unit that contains a significant amount of Federal lands open to pronghorn hunting.
- Can I hunt birds on the Refuge?
Upland game bird (sage grouse) and migratory game bird (ducks, coots, dark geese, mergansers, snipe, rails, mourning doves) hunting is allowed on the refuge in accordance with Wyoming Game and Fish Department regulations and with a Wyoming Game and Fish Department permit. Only Federally approved non-toxic shot is allowed for use for both upland game bird and migratory game bird hunting and shot shells containing lead may not be in possession while hunting on the refuge.
- Can I shoot coyotes on the Refuge?
No. Unless refuge-specific hunting seasons are established by Federal regulations for that species, hunting is not allowed. Research has shown that the presence of coyotes will decrease the abundance of red fox, raccoon, and skunk, which are all significant predators of nesting birds and their eggs.
- Can I shoot prairie dogs on the Refuge?
No. Unless Refuge-specific hunting seasons are established by Federal regulations for that species, hunting is not allowed.
White-tailed prairie dogs and other small mammals provide significant prey base for coyotes, badgers, bald and golden eagles, and other predators. In general, hunting for species where the edible parts will not be consumed or the fur will not be utilized is not allowed.
- Can I fish on the Refuge?
Yes. Fishing is allowed on the entire refuge. A valid Wyoming Game and Fish Department fishing license and Conservation Stamp is required. Special regulations apply on the north half of the refuge, down to the Big Sandy Confluence. From the CCC bridge near Fontenelle Dam and Slate Creek Campground downstream to the Green River confluence with the Big Sandy River, only artificial flies and lures may be used and only one trout over 20 inches may be kept per person per day.
General regulations for the Green River apply below the Big Sandy River confluence. See the Hunting and Fishing Regulations brochure and the WY Game and Fish Dept website for more information on regulations.
This stretch of the Green River is considered a tailwater fishery due to the influence of Fontenelle Dam. Cool and clear water is released from the dam and a portion is managed primarily as a catch and release fishery. The same fish may be caught repeatedly through a season and survive to grow bigger the next year. The primary game fish on the refuge are rainbow, cutthroat, and brown trout. All of these species naturally reproduce on the refuge, however the brown trout are the only self-sustaining species of trout. A 2012 estimate of fish per mile (fpm) for the north portion of the refuge was brown trout 145 fpm, rainbow trout 117 fpm, and Snake River cutthroat trout 17 fpm. Rainbow and cutthroat trout are stocked in the spring by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to supplement the wild population. Kokanee salmon move into the refuge from Flaming Gorge during the fall to spawn. Although they have a reputation for not biting when spawning, some fishermen have solved the mystery. A number of other species, such as mountain white fish can also be caught on the refuge. Fishing the Green River through the refuge can be frustrating for a novice, as the river does not give up its secrets easily. For those willing to invest the time, great fishing on a beautiful high desert river awaits.
- Can I trap on the Refuge?
Trapping is strictly regulated. We do allow trapping for beaver, muskrat, raccoon, red fox, and stripped skunk, but it must be conducted under the conditions of a special use permit. Please contact us for more information.
- Can I target practice on the Refuge?
No. Firearms may not be discharged at any time other than while legally participating in a hunt on the refuge.
Camping and Campfires
- Can you camp on the refuge?
No. Camping is not allowed on the refuge. The BLM operates three campgrounds upstream, Slate Creek, Weeping Rock and Tailrace. Contact the BLM Kemmerer Field office for more information (307) 828-4500.
- Can you cut wood and have campfires on the refuge?
No. Open fires are prohibited on refuge land. Dead and down trees provide habitat for a variety of bird and mammal species.
- Can you access the refuge on roads?
Yes. Please see the "Maps" link on the left side of this page under the Visit Us section. Nearly 50 miles of roads are open to vehicle travel. Several stretches of unimproved road on the east side of the refuge are seasonally closed November 15 until March 15. Seasonally closed roads are signed and closed with a metal or cable gate. A high clearance vehicle is recommended for most of the refuge roads besides the Auto Tour Route and boat ramp entrance roads. Please contact us for more details about refuge roads.
- What are the road conditions like and what types of roads allow access to the Refuge?
Hard-surfaced, all-weather roads are limited to U.S. Highway 372 on the western side of the Refuge and State Highway 28, running east and west, bisecting the middle of the refuge. Graveled roads include the North and South Auto Tour Routes, Seedskadee Road, Dodge Bottom Road, Six-Mile Hill Road, and County Road 4 on the west side. On the east side of the refuge graveled roads include County Road 8, portions of the East River Road and portions of County Road 7. All of the other roads open to vehicle travel have not been improved and are not maintained. This allows for a range of experiences for visitors. For those that can't walk far or at all, the auto tour route and the unimproved road on the east side north of Highway 28 allows for close access to the river in many places. Visitors looking to get away from roads to experience the refuge can park and walk in many places below Highway 28.
Safety, Communications and Emergencies
- What cell phone services are available on the refuge?
There is fair but spotty cell phone coverage over most of the refuge. The southern end has the most unreliable cell phone coverage. Union Wireless is the local provider, At&t works more reliably than Verizon, but coverage varies. Often turning your phone on and off might help, or using text messages instead of attempting phone calls.
- What should I do in case of an emergency?
Due to the remoteness of the refuge, you should be prepared to take care of yourself in an emergency. Have on hand enough food, water and shelter to last a couple of days. Before embarking on your outing, inform family members where you are going, how long you will be, and when you expect to return. When weather conditions deteriorate and roads become impassable, due to rain, etc. access may be limited and potentially not possible, even in emergencies. So be prepared to take care of yourself if needed.
Cell phone service is limited on the Refuge and reception may improve by driving or climbing to a high point. Dialing 911 will connect you to emergency services. Giving accurate descriptions of your location will decrease response time. Relaying GPS coordinates will help pinpoint your location or road names. If possible, meet emergency vehicles at the highway or send someone to lead them in to your location.
- Do I need to be prepared for wolves, lions, snakes and bears?
We do not have resident wolves, bears, mountain lions or poisonous snakes on the refuge. It is possible that a black bear, mountain lion or wolf may migrate through the area on its way to more suitable habitat.
However, many animals from moose to badgers to ticks inhabit the refuge, as well as other potentially dangerous wildlife. Please use precautions when traveling on foot in all areas of the refuge. Check for ticks in the summer months and avoid disturbing or surprising wildlife when afoot.
Boats and Water Levels
- What is the current water level of the river and where can I put my boat in?
To find the current level of the river, visit the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's website. We maintain four boat ramps, which can be found on the refuge map. The northernmost stretch of refuge can be reached by putting in at the BLM's Slate Creek Campground boat ramp, which is just above the County Road 8 CCC bridge.
- How often do the water levels in the Green River change?
The Bureau of Reclamation plans water releases for the season based on forecasted snowmelt and water levels in Fontenelle Reservoir. Minimum flow releases of at least 800 cubic feet per second (cfs) are maintained in the summer for power generation, maintaining the recreational fishery, and providing water for the City of Green River and Seedskadee NWR's developed wetland units. During high runoff events and when the reservoir is approaching capacity, release flows may need to be increased. Generally this is done in increments over a week or more. Flows released from Fontenelle Reservoir have exceeded 12,000 cfs in some years. Floating and fishing can be affected by these higher and lower flows. Occasionally, there is a pulse or emergency release, where the flows might increase and decrease 1,000 - 2,000 cfs in a short amount of time without any warning. Though this is generally rare, it can be a good reason to ensure your boat is tied up or securely anchored while on the refuge.
- Can you use a boat to access areas that are not accessible from roads when hunting?
Boating is permitted on the refuge. Wyoming boating laws and regulations apply to refuge waters. A throw rope, life jackets, and a first aid kit are highly recommended as standard equipment and may be required under state law depending upon your watercraft classification.
- Are there any permits required to boat on the Refuge?
Yes. Check with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) to determine if your boat must be registered in the State of Wyoming at their WGFD boat information website. Generally if your boat is not motorized, is registered in another state, and is not kept in Wyoming for more than 90 consecutive days it does not need to be registered in Wyoming. However, a current year Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) sticker is required for all boats and must be displayed on your boat before launching. Funds from this program are used by the WGFD for education of the public and to staff the boat inspection locations. Boats brought in to Wyoming March 1 through November 30th must be inspected by a Certified AIS inspector before launching. Any watercraft that has been launched on waters known to be infected with zebra or quagga mussels within the last 30 days must undergo an inspection year round. Visit the following website for details or to purchase an AIS sticker: WGFD AIS Information or use the links at our Rules and Regulations page.
- What types of boats can I use on the Refuge?
Generally shallow drift/non motorized boats are used. Drift boats, canoes, and kayaks allow boaters to pass over very shallow sand and gravel bars and navigate around boulders and rocks found in the river. Motorized crafts are not recommended, jet skis (personal watercraft) and airboats are prohibited.
- How do I access the Green River?
You can use the "maps" link on the left side of this page under the Visit Us section to access a detailed map of the refuge. We maintain four boat launches, all accessed from Highway 372 or Hwy 28. The boat ramps are named (north to south) Dodge Bottoms, Hay Farm, Highway 28, and Six Mile Hill. Boats can also be launched below Fontenelle Dam and at Slate Creek Campground above the Refuge.
- What should I expect while floating on the Green River through Seedskadee NWR?
The Green River flows through the refuge can range from a low of 700 cubic feet per second (cfs) to over 10,000 cfs. This variation in flows through the seasons and years will obviously make a difference while you float. There are rock "sills" and other rock structures in the Green River installed to improve fisheries habitat and divert water into wetland units. All of the sills are navigable by boat and a "slot" in the middle has been provided for easier boat passage. Plan on the wind blowing in the afternoon, at a minimum. There are very few days that have no wind at all on the refuge. Never underestimate the power of flowing water. The Green River is a big and powerful river with many hazards like large rocks and strong currents.
- How long does it take to float?
River mile distances are available through a link under boating in the Visit Us, Activities section. Strong winds blowing upstream may affect your float time and require more rowing. Expect a full 6 hour float from Hay Farm boat ramp to Highway 28 boat ramp and a full 8 hour float from Highway 28 boat ramp to Six Mile Hill boat ramp on the south end of the refuge. Float time on the northern portion from Dodge Bottom to Hay Farm is the shortest stretch to float.
- Does anyone offer shuttles for the launch to take out sites for boating?
Currently there is one commercial shuttle service available for the refuge area, Hack's Shuttle - Dennis (307) 390-7011 out of LaBarge. Many floaters arrange for a shuttle by bringing two vehicles or arranging for a friend to shuttle them. Some floaters have used a bicycle or street legal motorcycle to ride back to their vehicle at the end of the float.
- Can we take horses on the refuge?
Yes. Horses may be used on the refuge. There are a number of livestock water access lanes throughout the refuge requiring horseback riders to cross two fences at each one. There are wire gates adjacent to the roads for horses to pass through. Please close the gates behind you.
- Can you use ATVs on the refuge? My state does not register ATVs, what do I do?
ATVs (motorcycles, quadricycles, etc.) belonging to Wyoming residents and non-residents must be street legal and have a metal license plate. Operators must also possess the proper driver’s license. Non-resident ATV owners who wish to operate their ATVs on the refuge can contact the Wyoming Department of Transportation Compliance & Investigation Office (307) 777-3815 for questions on how to obtain a temporary license to operate their ATV in Wyoming. ATV’s used on the refuge must stay on numbered roads only and not be used off road at anytime. Refer to the refuge map for open road locations. Anyone intending to operate an ATV on the refuge should contact us or WY Department of Transportation to ensure the ATV meets the necessary requirements for legal operation.
- Can I ride my bike on the refuge?
Yes. Bicycles are allowed on open refuge roads. If you can drive your vehicle on it your can ride your bicycle. However, bicycles are not allowed off-road or on administrative, service, closed or seasonally closed roads.
Refuge Friends and Volunteers
- Does the Refuge have an official Friends Group?
We do not currently have an official Friends Group. We work with many partners, such as the Seedskadee Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Green Belt Task Force, to enhance wildlife and fisheries habitat, provide environmental education, and further the mission of Seedskadee NWR and the National Wildlife Refuge System. If you have interest in learning more about a potential Friends Group for Seedskadee NWR contact us. Additional Information is located at Refuge Association Friends Groups.
- Does the Refuge have a Volunteer Program?
Yes. We currently work with individuals, such as wildlife students looking for experience in refuge management. We work with private organizations, such as the Seedskadee Chapter of Trout unlimited, who have provided much assistance and support. We also work with youth organizations such as local Scout troops on service and educational projects. If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer program and opportunities, please contact us.
Wyoming Junior Duck Stamp Program
- When are entries due and where do we mail them?
The program is now ran out of the National Elk Refuge in Jackson. Raena Parsons is the Wyoming state coordinator. Entries from kids K-12 for the Wyoming Jr Duck Stamp Program are officially due to the National Elk Refuge headquarters office by March 15th every year. Please mail entries to:
National Elk Refuge
Attn: Raena Parsons
PO Box 510
675 East Broadway
Jackson, WY 83001
- Can the public be present for judging?
If your group is small and will not attempt to influence judging or be a disturbance, we can allow people to be present for judging of the artwork. Dates will vary each year, contact Raena Parsons at the National Elk Refuge for more information.
- What are the rules and requirements for an entry?
Please visit the official Federal Jr Duck Stamp Program page for an updated copy of the rules and requirements or the National Elk Refuge website might have information as well. A few basic things to be aware of and check requirements are the artwork size, species of waterfowl, no words or writing on front, and properly filled out entry form taped to the back of the artwork. Raena Parsons at the National Elk Refuge if you have further questions.
- Where can I find the curriculum guides for the Program that accompany the art contest?
Curriculums guides for youths, teachers, home school and nonformal can be downloaded from the Federal Jr. Duck Stamp Program website or by contacting the National Elk Refuge's Raena Parsons.
- Why aren't your wetlands always wet?
Wetland management that mimics natural processes and cycles usually produces the best results in terms of creating the most food and best quality habitat. We open our ditches in late March/early April and run water through the wetland units until late fall/early November. The resulting drying out of the wetlands helps the soil re-oxygenate and promotes an accelerated rate of decomposition. Many aquatic plants, like pondweed, are much more productive in this type of system rather than in an anaerobic wetland, which without the periodic drying become oxygen deprived and decadent. Decomposition rates slow way down and aquatic invertebrates and plants abundance and diversity decrease as well. Aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates and aquatic plants are the major food source for waterfowl and shorebirds. As a result of our water management regime and occasionally dry wetlands, Seedskadee's wetlands have been called some of the most productive wetlands in southwest Wyoming.
Occasionally wetlands are dry for reasons beyond our control. The flows of our ditches and our wetlands are tied directly to river flows. When river flows coming out of Fontenelle dam are reduced, due to drought or other reasons, the flows to the wetlands are also reduced. Sometimes we just don't have enough water to fill all the wetlands.