U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Des Lacs
National Wildlife Refuge

A panoramic view of Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge shows a vast expanse of grassland with a large wetland.  The wetland is thick with waterfowl floating on its surface.
1 Mile West of Kenmare, County Rd 1A
Kenmare, ND   58746
E-mail: deslacs@fws.gov
Phone Number: 701-385-4046
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
In the fall, snow goose concentrations can reach 500,000 birds on the Refuge.
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Many archeological sites exist on the Refuge where Native Americans occupied the area either in permanent or transient camps; more sites may be present but undiscovered. These sites commonly contain "tipi rings" as well as other artifacts. Also, during drought years, when water levels in the Upper Des Lacs Lake recede, large numbers of bison bones are visible on the beaches and shoreline adjacent to one of the sites.

In 1858, explorer Henry A. Boller's descriptions of the Des Lacs River Valley paint a picture of a vast and continuous landscape devoid of timber, but alive with life. Boller characterizes their route as "uninteresting...high rolling prairie, totally destitute of timber." Although Boller characterized his route through the Des Lacs River valley as "a most barren and uninteresting country," the wildlife were abundant. Boller notes that the "buffalo were plenty...wild fowl were present in countless numbers...plenty of ducks could be obtained with but little trouble...wolves could everywhere be seen sneaking over the adjacent hills." Boller also noted that the country "abounded in innumerable lakes or ponds." Boller made special mention of a grizzly bear which was sighted "a short distance from the line of march."

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