National Wildlife Refuge System

Remote Adventures at Browns Park Refuge

Browns Park Refuge in northwest Colorado provides important nesting and foraging habitat for waterfowl and migratory songbirds.
Credit: USFWS

Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge is located along the Green River in northwest Colorado, between Cold Springs and Diamond Mountains, about equidistant from Rock Springs, Wyoming; Vernal, Utah; and Craig, Colorado. “The big plus is that we are remote,” says refuge manager Stephen Barclay. “It’s a unique opportunity to get off the beaten track and enjoy solitude and quiet.”

So it will be a quiet 50th birthday celebration at Browns Park Refuge this month. The refuge was established in 1965 to protect habitat for waterfowl, pumping water each spring from the Green River into seven wetlands that provide essential foraging and nesting grounds. The refuge also provides critical winter habitat for large mammals such as mule deer, elk, and pronghorn.

Migrating songbirds like this Lazuli bunting depend on the riparian habitat of Browns Park Refuge for refueling during their trip north.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thousands of migrating songbirds, like the Lazuli bunting and Wilson’s warbler, depend on the riparian habitat for refueling as they travel north to their breeding grounds. Other songbirds, such as the black-chinned hummingbird and Bullock’s oriole, nest on the refuge. During the summer, the wetlands provide critical nesting habitat for pied-billed grebes and several species of ducks. Other species dependent upon the wetlands include American bitterns, Woodhouse’s toads and white-faced ibis. Moose and river otter raise their young in the riparian habitat.

The refuge is also a nursery for cottonwood plantings to replace aging trees. The cottonwoods provide important nesting, food and cover for migratory songbirds. Following the construction of the Flaming Gorge Dam in 1963, natural spring flooding no longer occurs, so refuge staff and volunteers lend a helping hand to the forest by transplanting cottonwood saplings grown in refuge nurseries to locations throughout the refuge.

Visitors come to Browns Park Refuge to drive this wildlife drive and also for trout fishing, hunting and primitive camping.
Credit: USFWS

Visitors come to Browns Park Refuge for rafting, trout fishing and primitive camping. There are seasons for hunting elk, deer and waterfowl. An eight-mile auto tour route passes a variety of habitats and a one mile foot trail follows Beaver Creek around a homesteader cabin.

Last updated: July 10, 2015