The McNary Wildlife Refuge is part of the Mid-Columbia River Refuge Complex in the area where the Snake joins the Columbia River. The four other National Wildlife Refuges in the complex are: Umatilla NWR, Cold Springs NWR, McKay Creek NWR, and Toppenish NWR. The McNary Refuge and the McNary Environmental Education Center have their own website at

The McNary NWR contains backwater from the lake formed behind the McNary dam that spans the Columbia River as it bends westward to become the border between Oregon and Washington. A safe wintering spot for many waterfowl, the NWR also harbors seasonal migratory species. Songbirds, owls, and raptors return to nest each spring.

A piece of land less than a quarter of a mile wide, the marsh hunkers between a residential area perched on its northern border and a US two-lane highway on the south. Traffic growls and hums around it constantly.

Two campfire girls preparing cuttings for planting.

Recently the Chinook Council of Campfire Girls and Boys received a grant from Aeneca Ag.Inc. with which they set out to add native trees and shrubs for protection and food for the wildlife in the McNary Wildlife Refuge.

On March 15th, under the direction of the NWR rangers and Martha Spencer, the Campfire group, aided by Girl and Boy Scouts, and members of the Mid-Columbia Audubon Society, hundreds of new plants and cuttings were placed strategically for wildlife cover and food.

Volunteers prepare for cuttings.

We applaud the generosity of those volunteers whose efforts will be a lasting benefit to the local environment and this marshy ecosystem. The refuge has been adopted by local groups who are working to make the refuge an educational experience for the area teachers, their classes and the public with proposed bird blinds for photographers, elevated nest boxes for Canada geese, self guided nature tours, and a haven for plants and animals.

There are 470 national wildlife refuges in which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works to preserve and protect plant and animal species. Under a balanced management program, research is conducted and critical habitat is purchased and maintained to help protect endangered species.

In Oregon's Salmon River area the marshes to visit are Ankeny Wildlife Refuge and Baskett Slough Wildlife Refuge. These areas provide many opportunities for recreation, from fishing and hunting to wildlife observation and nature photography.

For information about refuges in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, or Hawaii, contact:

          The Wildlife Service
          911 NE 11th Ave.
          Eastside Federal Complex
          Portland, OR 97232-4181
Or visit the one nearest you! (If you want to search for a park, try using L.L. Bean's Parksearch program.)

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Last Modified: Monday, 29-Jun-2009 11:54:42 EDT