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

28908 NW Main Ave.
Ridgefield, WA   98642
E-mail: eric_anderson@fws.gov
Phone Number: 360-887-4106
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
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  Wildlife Observation and Photography
Continued . . .

At the River S Unit, the Kiwa Trail is open for use from May 1 through September 30. The auto tour route and observation blind are open year-round during daylight hours.

On the Carty Unit, the 2-mile loop Oaks to Wetlands Wildlife Trail is open every day during daylight hours. This trail crosses uneven terrain through wetland and forested habitats, offering a slightly more challenging hike. Numerous basalt outcroppings and springtime wildflowers create a beautiful backdrop for one of the refuge's most scenic areas.

To ensure the safety of all visitors and to preserve trail vegetation and conditions, only foot traffic is allowed on refuge trails. Bicycles and other forms of transportation are not allowed.

During spring, colorful wildflower displays can be found on basalt knolls along the trail. Between mid-October and mid-April, flocks of Canada geese can be observed using grasslands, or ducks might be seen using the various wetlands along the trail. A kiosk and restroom facility are available.

Approximately 2 miles of gravel road pass through the River "S" Unit, with four parking lots. An automatic gate is at the entrance to this unit, with closing time posted on the gate. A kiosk, observation blind, and restroom facility are all accessible to the wheelchair bound visitor. This unit provides visitors the opportunity to observe sandhill cranes during spring and fall migration (especially in recently harvested corn fields), and large numbers of waterfowl during the winter. Part of this unit, the adjacent Roth Unit, and the Bachelor Island Unit are closed to all public use from October 1 to April 15 to provide a wildlife sanctuary. In addition, the Bachelor Island is closed to all public access without a permit during the rest of the year.

Visitors to the Ridgeport Dairy Unit during the winter can see large numbers of waterfowl on Post Office Lake from an observation area along the road, and wintering Canada geese on grasslands visible from the road.

Among the most spectacular sights at the refuge are the huge flocks of wintering Canada geese, which are easily seen foraging and resting in wetlands and fields along the public use road on the River "S" Unit. Also likely to be observed are mallards, shovelers, American wigeon, pintails, scaup, pied billed grebe and coots. Great blue herons are present throughout the year. During the summer when water levels are drawn down on the River "S" ponds, great egrets and a variety of shorebirds commonly forage in the shallows and mudflats. Bald eagles nest and winter on the refuge, and red-tailed hawks are common throughout most of the year. Common resident songbirds include scrub jays, European starlings, and song sparrows. Migrating songbirds likely to be seen include Swainson's thrush, house wren, and western wood pewee. Purple martins and tree swallows can be seen feeding over open water and wetlands. A bird list is available at the refuge Web site.

Black-tailed deer are the largest mammal on the refuge. Coyote, raccoon, skunk, beaver, otter, and eastern cottontail are occasionally seen. Nutria, a rodent introduced in the 1930s, are abundant, and their damaging holes can be seen in ditches when water levels are low. Bullfrogs, red-legged frogs, and painted turtles are the most common amphibians seen.

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