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National Wildlife Refuge

A waterbird enjoys the end of the day in Oklahoma with the reds and oranges of the sunset glinting off the water.
Route 1, Box 18A
Vian, OK   74962
E-mail: chad_ford@fws.gov
Phone Number: 918-773-5251
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Sequoyah NWR at sunset.
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Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge
Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1970 to provide habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds and to provide food and cover for resident wildlife. The refuge was named in honor of Sequoyah, a Cherokee Native American who developed an alphabet for the Cherokee language that allowed his tribe to preserve their traditions and history in writing.

The Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge is an overlay project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers(USACE) established on the 42,000 acre Robert S. Kerr Reservoir by Cooperative Agreement No. DACW56-3-71 on December 11, 1970. A General Plan formulated and approved through the Cooperative Agreement states that the land and water areas set aside for the refuge will be administered for the conservation and management of migratory birds and of other fish and wildlife.

Today, this 20,800 acre refuge continues to provide sanctuary and breeding ground habitat for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife species in addition to providing wildlife-oriented recreational activities for the visiting public. The biological value of the Refuge to this region is apparent by the fish and wildlife species utilizing this area. The area has historically been an important migration route for migrating waterfowl in this section of the Central Flyway. The Refuge’s management programs meet the purpose for its establishment by providing adequate habitat needs for not only waterfowl but also other resident fish and wildlife species. In addition, the Refuge provides the public with an outdoor experience through wildlife-oriented recreational activities. The value of this area in eastern Oklahoma can be seen by the occurrence and diversity of wildlife and the visitors that utilize to the Refuge each year.

Getting There . . .
The refuge is located approximately 150 miles east of Oklahoma City, and 35 miles west of Fort Smith, Arkansas, off of Interstate 40. Take the Vian exit (# 297) from I-40, follow county road 3 miles south to refuge headquarters.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Wildlife found at Sequoyah NWR varies with the seasons. During fall, winter, and spring, waterfowl are numerous. Mallards are, by far, the most abundant of the wintering ducks. The Refuge serves as important nesting and stopover habitat for gulls, terns, wading birds, and shorebirds; including the federally listed interior least tern.

Bottomland hardwood forests, croplands, sloughs, and open water provide a home for a variety of wildlife, including songbirds, hawks, bobwhite quail, bobcat, deer, squirrels, muskrat, and rabbits. Reptiles, such as the green tree frog, diamondback water snake,red-eared slider, and numerous species of amphibians also common on the refuge.

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Archeological sites within Sequoyah NWR have yielded artifacts from all recognized prehistoric periods, although well defined components representing the earlier periods have yet to be recognized. Late prehistorice sites here have been classifieds as Caddoan, that is ancestral to the historic group whose languages belonged to the Caddoan language family. These groups are known in modern times as the Caddos, Pawnees, Arikaras, and Wichitas.

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Management Activities
Sequoyah NWR utilizes several management techniques to enhance the habitat and provide necessary food for migrating waterfowl. Cooperative farming, water manipulation, and prescribed burning are just a few of the techniques used.

Cooperative farming on the refuge is an activity aimed at the production of adequate foods to maintain a large body of migratory waterfowl which use the area in migration and wintering periods. Many other resident wildlife species benefit from the same croplands for food and shelter requirements.

Management of bottomland hardwood forests, riparian habitats, and croplands are important components of managing natural resources on the refuge for resident and migratory waterfowl species. Since the establishment of the refuge, habitat management has been progressive. As further habitat management proceeds, baseline information collection is needed to determine the desirability of existing habitat and to focus on habitat that can support natural diversity, to monitor the success of management efforts, and to monitor wildlife population fluctuations. A thorough understanding of the biological communities and their processes is fundamental to sound fish and wildlife management.