Creedman Coulee National Wildlife Refuge
Waterfowl at Creedman Coulee National Wildlife Refuge
Creedman Coulee National Wildlife Refuge is centered around the Creedman Coulee Reservoir in northern Hill County, Montana. The NWR is a 2,728-acre conservation easement with only 80 acres of US Fish & Wildlife Service-owned land. Most of the remaining acreage within the easement is farmed on a regular basis. The reservoir itself is encumbered with a private water right and it took a trip through the courts to determine the water level reserved for wildlife and habitat purposes. Because of that, almost no management other than maintenance of the reservoir is possible here.
The migratory birds and waterfowl don't care about the human stuff: they use this area just like any other National Wildlife Refuge. There are also coyotes and pronghorns living in the surrounding croplands and sagebrush grasslands. Public access is only available via the county road that travels along the eastern boundary of the property. Technically, the refuge is open for waterfowl hunting in legal seasons, however, before hunting you need to get written permission from the affected property owner.
Creedman Coulee National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Bowdoin Wetlands Management District, with staff working out of the office at the Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge. The property itself is unstaffed and offers virtually no visitor improvements.
To get there: head north from Havre on paved county road 232 to the fork in the road about 2.5 miles north of town. Go right on CR 233. It's about 27 more miles north to the refuge. You'll know you're there when you start seeing Fish & Wildlife signs along the left (west) side of the road. If you come to the Port of Willow Creek border crossing, you've gone a bit too far.