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State of Washington Parks

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USA Parks
Columbia River Plateau Region
Columbia National Wildlife Refuge
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Columbia National Wildlife Refuge © Carly sue Hammer
Columbia National Wildlife Refuge © Melody Wilson
Columbia National Wildlife Refuge Buck and Does © Melody Wilson
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Othello, Washington   99344
The Columbia Basin is on the Pacific Flyway, a major waterfowl migration route, and the many acres of wetlands within the <A HREF="">Columbia Basin Project</a> area are used by numerous species. Operating hours: 7:00a.m. - 4:30p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:00a.m. - 3:30p.m. Friday. Open during daylight hours. Refuge waters include 145 acres of ponds, 841 acres of lakes, and 17.8 miles of streams. Available species include rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brown trout, largemouth bass, black crappie, yellow perch, and sunfish.
Nature of the Area
Located in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains, Columbia Refuge receives less than 8 inches of annual precipitation, creating an arid, desert environment. The refuge's geological setting is channeled scabland formed when great glacial floods gouged through basalt layers, leaving distinctive canyons or "channels" and numerous rocky buttes and cliffs.

Serious planning to irrigate the Columbia Basin on a large scale began in 1918. The Columbia Basin Project was approved and construction of Grand Coulee Dam began in 1934. In 1951, the first irrigation water began flowing to Columbia Basin farmlands. Columbia Refuge was established in conjunction with the irrigation project in 1944 and has been actively managed since 1955.

With a reliable supply of abundant water, the lakes appeared in former canyons and low spots throughout the refuge and surrounding areas. In many places on the refuge, additional lakes and ponds were created by damming spring and seepage flows. All the present refuge lakes and impoundments are the result, directly or indirectly, of irrigation water. Around the refuge, dryland wheat areas and many acres of sagebrush were soon converted to a wide variety of irrigated crops. Many of these crops, particularly corn, provided abundant food for ducks and geese. The agricultural development, together with the numerous water areas, combined each year to provide ideal feeding and resting areas for many thousands of migrating and wintering waterfowl.
 Hiking Trailyes

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Area Campgrounds
O'Sullivan Sportsman Resort
6897 Highway 262 SE
Othello, WA
The New Mar Don Resort
8198 Highway 262 South East
Othello, WA
Nearby Hotels

From Othello, Washington, drive 5 miles northwest on McManamon Road, then turn north on Morgan Lake Road. This is the major north/south public road through the heart of the refuge. It starts paved and turns to gravel in approximately 1.5 miles.

This road will take you past McManamon Lake, Crab Creek, Frog Lake, and Upper Crab Creek trailheads and parking areas. Continuing north take the right spur road to Soda Lake Dam boat launch and the Pillar/Widgeon trailhead and parking area.

Leaving the spur road and continuing north to Soda Lake Campground entrance and finally out to O'Sullivan Dam Road. A map of the refuge is available at just about every parking area for further refuge exploration.

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State of Washington Parks