Halfbreed Lake National Wildlife Refuge


A view of Halfbreed Lake
Halfbreed Lake, Halfbreed Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Halfbreed Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Halfbreed Lake National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of 4,318 acres, mostly wetlands around Halfbreed Lake plus the surrounding grassy prairie uplands in a poorly drained, closed watershed basin that extends from Molt to Rapelje. This NWR is a mix of conservation easement (400 acres), land lease (640 acres of state-owned land) and 3,246 acres of Waterfowl Production Area in northern Stillwater County. The wetlands are fed by Cedar Creek and are composed of three small, semi-permanent lakes: Halfbreed Lake (248 acres), Goose Lake (220 acres) and Grass Lake (375 acres). Goose and Grass Lakes are shallower than Halfbreed Lake but all three lakes offer productive stands of submergent vegetation. The uplands area offers western wheatgrass, prairie junegrass and greasewood.

Halfbreed Lake NWR is managed as an outlying satellite of the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Halfbreed Lake is unstaffed and while the property contains some excellent breeding and nesting grounds for migratory waterfowl and other birds, it offers virtually no amenities for human visitors.

Halfbreed Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located about 7 miles east of Rapelje in the center of the Big Lake Complex, a large drainage that begins at Hailstone NWR to the north and ends at state-owned (and managed) Big Lake to the south. Being in the center of the Complex, Halfbreed Lake has the freshest water supply and probably sees the most use by migratory birds. The area was managed as a no-hunting zone for years, until Fish & Wildlife acquired most of the original flowage and refuge easement in 1987.

Walk-in access is allowed but the refuge is generally managed as a "closed property," intended as a sanctuary for wildlife and not for humans. Public use is limited to hiking and wildlife observation. Hunting is not allowed. To get there: go east from Rapelje on the Molt-Rapelje Road for 7 miles, then go south about 1/4 mile to the refuge entrance.

Halfbreed Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Halfbreed Lake National Wildlife Refuge