Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuge


Condors in the trees, Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuge
Condors in the trees, Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuge

Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuge is an 897-acre property located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Tulare County. One of the four units of the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Blue Ridge NWR is also part of the 11,000-acre Blue Ridge Wildlife Habitat Area that preserves and protects historic foraging and nesting habitat for the endangered California condor. Blue Ridge Wildlife Habitat Area is jointly managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Forest Service and the California Department of Fish and Game.

Blue Ridge was originally established in 1982 as a unit of the Kern National Wildlife Refuge Complex but was transferred to the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex in 2000 because Hopper Mountain is organized primarily for the protection and preservation of California condors.

Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuge is in an area dominated by forests of Ponderosa pine, sugar pine, white fir, black oak, Sierra gooseberry, Indian manzanita, mountain misery and incense cedar. There are also areas of woodland savanna and dense chaparral on the refuge.

Among the birds seen on the refuge are band-tailed pigeon, great horned owl, Steller's jay, mountain quail, blue grouse, white-headed woodpecker, white breasted nuthatches, Townsend's solitaire and mountain chickadee. Among the mammals are mountain lion, mule deer, coyote, bobcat, red fox, gray fox, porcupine, striped skunk, mountain cottontail, western gray squirrel, Douglas squirrel and yellow pine chipmunk.

Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuge is closed to the public to protect habitat critical to the survival of the California condor.

Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuge
A view from Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuge