Black Coulee National Wildlife Refuge

A Western meadowlark at Black Coulee National Wildlife Refuge

Black Coulee National Wildlife Refuge is a 1,494-acre property that is part of the Bowdoin Wetland Management District and is managed from the Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge. A gravel road leads to this very remote NWR in northeastern Blaine County. The road is gated but foot access to the refuge is allowed.

Black Coulee NWR is centered around a large reservoir. Drought years see the reservoir nearly empty because runoff silt from nearby agricultural lands have severely reduced its capacity to hold water. The refuge is managed basically as a resting and nesting spot for migratory birds, and more than 100 species of birds have been documented on the property.

Waterfowl and game bird hunting are allowed to the east of the access road during the appropriate state hunting seasons. Although virtually no active management of the property occurs, fences are maintained (and gates locked) to ensure no trespass grazing occurs.

To get there: easiest way in is from CR 241, about 6.5 miles south of Turner. There's a signed turnoff to the south that follows a gravel road 3.5 miles before turning southeast for another 1.5 miles to the refuge gate. The gravel road can be dangerous-to-impassable in bad weather.

Black Coulee National Wildlife Refuge map
Map of the Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge Complex
Click on the map to get a larger version
Photos and map courtesy of the US Fish & Wildlife Service