Did you know the Refuge's namesake is credited for helping establish the first National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon?
William L. Finley was a renowned conservationist and photographer. The stunning photos he took of wildlife persuaded then president, Theodore Roosevelt to establish the first Refuge west of the Misssissippi in 1907. [Know that Refuge's Name? A: Three Arch Rocks on the Oregon Coast.]
The 5,325 acres of William L. Finley NWR protect fine examples of many of the Willamette Valley’s historic habitats. Fields of wildlife food crops are interspersed with Oregon white oak savanna, meandering creeks with bottomland Oregon ash forest, mature big-leaf maple in mixed coniferous forest and native prairie.
William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge is a great way to see what the Willamette Valley once looked like, when the Kalapuya were stewards of the land. The wetlands on the refuge provide a sanctuary for wintering waterfowl, wading birds and shorebirds. Cabell Marsh and McFadden's Marsh are the two largest wetlands. Visit in the fall to see pelicans and in the winter you'll see swans and thousands of wintering waterfowl.
The miles of refuge trails will take you through all of the rare and historic Valley habitat types: Oak savanna, wetland prairie, mixed forest, , upland prairie and both permanent and seasonal wetlands. Walk the Homer Campbell Memorial Boardwalk to the Observation Blind for an up-
close look at water birds, geese, bald eagles, and other wildlife.
Location and Contact Information
Established in 1964, the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge’s primary management goal is to provide wintering habitat for dusky Canada geese. Unlike other Canada goose subspecies, duskies have limited summer and winter ranges. Their population is small, too, hoovering around 16,000 geese. They nest in Alaska’s Copper River Delta and winter almost exclusively in the wetlands of the Willamette Valley—much of which was drained to provide open fields for agriculture and pasture during the 19th century European settlement. With the extensive habitat restoration projects at work on all 5,325 acres of the refuge and the 341 acres of its Snag Boat Bend Unit, it makes exploring these special places like taking a step back into the natural history of the Willamette Valley.
What We Do
Located ten miles south of Corvallis, Oregon the refuge protects many of the historic habitats of the valley, including the largest remaining tract of native Willamette Valley wet prairie. Fields of grass for wildlife are interspersed with Oregon white oak savanna, meandering creeks with bottomland Oregon ash forest, old growth bigleaf maple, and native prairie.
Management goals are to preserve native species and enhance biodiversity including the rare oak savanna, upland prairie, and wet prairie habitats. Endangered and threatened species such as Streaked-horned lark, Fender's blue butterfly and Kincaid's lupine find protection and sanctuary on the refuge. A herd of Roosevelt elk can often be found in the bottomland forests or farm fields on the refuge.
Under cooperative agreements, area farmers plant refuge fields to produce nutritious grasses preferred by geese. The geese also need water for resting and foraging habitat. Many refuge wetlands occur naturally; others were created.
The refuge is home to thousands of species that we work hard to provide for. It's also a great place for you to come explore! There is something for everyone here. Take a hike or photo; have a picnic lunch or catch a fish. Come on your own and find some peace or bring your family and make some special memories.
Roosevelt elk, Bobcat, Tundra swan, Acorn woodpecker, Great-horned owl, Black-tailed deer, Golden paintbrush, Bradshaw's lomatium, Nelson's checkermallow, Fender's blue butterfly, Kincaids' lupine, Purple martin, SO MANY RAPTORS and much, much more.