Facility Activities

With the passage of the National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act in 1997, six wildlife-dependent recreational activities are often managed on refuges as long as they are determined to be compatible, legitimate and appropriate public uses of the refuge. Hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, and interpretation are often referred to as the "big six". Turnbull offers five of the big six including a large and diverse environmental education and interpretation programs, great wildlife viewing and photography opportunities, and a limited entry elk hunting program initiated in 2010 to protect the riparian riparian
Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

Learn more about riparian
habitat of the refuge.

Environmental Education

National Wildlife Refuges serve many purposes, and one of our most important roles is to serve as an outdoor classroom to teach about wildlife and natural resources.  Many refuges offer environmental education programs for a variety of audiences.  Refuges provide unique and exciting outdoor environments – excellent locations for hands-on learning activities.  Thousands of youth and adult groups visit every year to learn about a specific topic on wildlife, habitat, or ecological processes.




Refuge System interpretation programs provide opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to the natural world.  From self-guided walks to refuge staff and volunteer-led programs, many national wildlife refuges help visitors learn more about the wildlife and habitat behind the landscapes.

In addition to staff and volunteers presenting programs to audiences, refuges use a variety of exhibits, signs, brochures, and electronic media to communicate natural history stories to visitors.  Printed and virtual information is often available on many topics, including plants and animals, seasonal migrations, habitats, refuge management strategies, and endangered species.


Wildlife Observation

If you enjoy getting outdoors and looking for wildlife, consider a visit to your nearest national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

Learn more about national wildlife refuge
.  From birding to whale watching, from viewing speedy pronghorn antelope or slow-moving box turtles, wildlife observation is the most popular activity for refuge visitors.

From every state and all parts of the globe, about 55 million people visit each year, especially for the chance to see concentrations of wildlife and birds. The National Wildlife Refuge System’s extensive trail system, boardwalks, observation decks, hunting and photography blinds, fishing piers and boat launches encourage visitors to discover America’s best wildlife spectacles.



Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past decade has been wildlife photography.  That’s not surprising – the digital camera population explosion and smart phones with ever-improving picture-taking abilities are increasing the number of nature photographers at a rapid rate.  You don’t need to purchase expensive equipment or have any experience to get started.  A small camera or basic smart phone will do fine for most visitors.

Millions of people visit outdoor areas each year to photograph wildlife, and national wildlife refuges naturally are at the top of the list.  Refuges provide enhanced opportunities to photograph wildlife in natural habitats by providing platforms, brochures, interpreters, viewing areas, and tour routes.  Wildlife photography is a high-priority activity in the Refuge System.  We welcome beginning and expert photographers alike to record their outdoor adventures on film, memory card or internal hard drive. 



Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that we recognize as a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in America’s heritage.  Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciation of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs.

As practiced on refuges, hunting, trapping and fishing do not pose a threat to wildlife populations, and in some instances are necessary for sound wildlife management.  For example, because their natural predators are gone, deer populations will often grow too large for the refuge habitat to support.

In an area of northeastern Washington known as the Channeled Scablands, Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge is an unusual mix of habitats, including wetlands, shrub-steppe, and aspen and ponderosa pine forests. It is also home to a large population of elk, which traditionally increased during...