Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

Coordinates: 45°48′15″N 122°45′42″W / 45.80417°N 122.76167°W / 45.80417; -122.76167
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Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Map showing the location of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
Map showing the location of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
Location in Washington state
LocationClark County, Washington, United States
Nearest cityRidgefield, Washington
Coordinates45°48′15″N 122°45′42″W / 45.80417°N 122.76167°W / 45.80417; -122.76167[1]
Area5,228.10 acres (21.1574 km2)[2]
Established1965 (1965)[3]
Governing bodyUnited States Fish and Wildlife Service
WebsiteRidgefield National Wildlife Refuge

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is a National Wildlife Refuge and is overseen by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge borders the Columbia River and is located west of the city of Ridgefield, Washington. The wildlife haven is split by Lake River. The refuge, which provides a year-round habitat and a migration stop for a variety of bird species, protects more than 5,200 acres (2,100 ha) of marshes, grasslands, and woodlands


The refuge was established (along with 3 other refuges in the Willamette Valley of Oregon) in 1965, in response to a need to establish vital winter habitat for wintering waterfowl with an emphasis on the dusky Canada goose whose nesting areas in Alaska were severely impacted by the violent earthquake of 1964.[5]

Ridgefield NWR is part of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex, headquartered in Ridgefield, Washington, which oversees the management of four refuges in the southwestern part of the state: Ridgefield, and three refuges in the Columbia River Gorge: Franz Lake, Pierce, and Steigerwald Lake.[6] This place was closed in spring of 2019 to cut down Douglas fir and change the trail. In fall of 2020, the construction of a new multi-purpose building began. The new multi-purpose building will be a construction type V-B and consist of a 4,415 square foot single story building with an associated balcony and basement area. The building is being constructed to provide the fish and wildlife staff office space, meeting space, and an area for public visitors including volunteers and conservation partners.

Refuge units and activities[edit]

The refuge is organized into several units. The conservation of the natural Columbia River floodplain is the management objective of the Carty Unit, which contains a 2 miles (3.2 km) self-guided hiking trail, and the Roth and Ridgeport Dairy units.

The River 'S' and Bachelor Island units are managed to maximize habitat for waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. The River 'S' Unit is accessible by a 4.2 miles (6.8 km) auto tour route and the 1.2 miles (1.9 km) Kiwa Hiking Trail, a seasonal trail. A small path, open for the entire year, leads to a bird hide.[7]


Stately sandhill cranes, shorebirds, Tundra swan, and a great variety of songbirds[8] stop at the refuge during spring and fall migrations.[7] Some bird species such as mallards, canada geese, great blue herons, pheasant, ruffed grouse, barn owl, great horned owl, bald eagles, ospreys and red-tailed hawks are year-round residents that nest on the refuge. Black-tailed deer and cougars are the largest mammals on the refuge. Smaller mammal species such as coyote, red fox, raccoon, skunk, porcupine, bobcat, beaver, mink, river otter, muskrat, badger and brush rabbits are occasionally seen.[9]

The River 'S' Unit, in 2023, recorded 239 different bird species, ranking the refuge as 15th in the state for avian diversity.[7]


The Carty Unit of the refuge includes seven historic quarries, listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Basalt Cobblestone Quarries District.

See also[edit]


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

  1. ^ "Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  2. ^ "Annual Report of Lands as of September 30, 2013" (PDF). United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
  3. ^ "About the Refuge". Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  4. ^ "Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Profile". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  5. ^ "Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Brochure" (PDF). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. June 2007.
  6. ^ "Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  7. ^ a b c Barker, Cade (September 18, 2023). "Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge a haven for wildlife". The Reflector. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  8. ^ "Birds of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge". Duane & Shirleen Hymas. Archived from the original on 2007-03-10. Retrieved 2006-06-19.
  9. ^ "Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Wildlife Checklist" (PDF). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. August 2010.

External links[edit]