Just outside of Dallas, along Highway 22, you’ll find a beautiful National Wildlife Refuge that is home to a variety of wildlife. While there you are sure to see a variety of birds and small mammals. Whether you are a bird enthusiast or just want to go on a moderate hike, this is the perfect destination to get an idea of what the Willamette Valley may have looked like before it was drained for farming lands.
This Refuge was created primarily for the benefit of dusky Canadian Geese. This specific sub species of Canadian Geese almost exclusively spend their winters in the Willamette Valley. As much of the valley was drained while being settled, their habitat was changed significantly. While the Refuge benefits many species of birds and mammals, the main purpose for it’s creation was a designated and safe place for dusky Canadian Geese to spend the winter.
Other wildlife you may chance upon while in the area include the endangered Fender’s Blue Butterfly and the Streaked Horned Lark. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the Downy Woodpecker! There are also a variety of sparrows, chickadees and swallows. If you are there in the evening you may be lucky enough to spot the Northern Spotted Owl or Barn Owl as it begins it’s night of hunting. You also may be lucky enough to see some Black-tailed Deer during your visit.
With 2,492 acres of land devoted to this Refuge, there are a few different trails and lookout points that can be enjoyed at the Refuge. If you have limited amount of time to enjoy the area you can enjoy the viewing kiosk along Highway 22. This will give you a good view of the wetlands where you may even see Bald Eagles and Hawks soaring through the air. If you have time to do a short hike you may consider making the less than mile moderate hike to the Rich Guadagno Observation Platform. From this platform you will be able to look out over the marshlands.
For those who have more time to enjoy the area, there are a couple of longer hikes you can consider taking. Keep in mind that these trails are only open from April to the end of September. Just over 3 miles, the Morgan Lake Trail is traditionally an out and back trail, however, there are multiple junctions that you can choose from if you would like to explore more of the Refuge. This trial is a great option if you would like to get a view of Morgan Lake and Moffitti Marsh. Another out and back trail that is about 3 miles is the Moffitti Marsh Trail. This trail will take you along the marsh and is a great option if you are at the Refuge in late spring. As the summer progresses, plant life grows to the point where it is difficult to see the marsh. Avid hikers may also enjoy Hendricks Park in Eugene!
The National Wildlife Refuge System is set up to preserve natural habitats and wildlife for the benefit of future Americans as well as those who enjoy the areas in the present. They work to manage, conserve and even restore the habitat and wildlife that are native to the area. Each refuge will typically have a specific reason for it’s creation, for example, Baskett Slough’s reason is to provide an area for dusky Canadian Geese to spend the winter.
Here at Insight we know that it’s important to work with the environment while providing pest control services. Many of our technicians are outdoor enthusiasts and taking care of the environment is important to them. Check out our blog post featuring one of these technicians named Neil and get his perspective on pest control and the environment.