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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Natural Areas of North Dakota

Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge

GIF--Location of Natural Area


Karen A. Smith

Directions: From Stanley, 16 miles north on State Highway 8 to refuge headquarters.

The 26,747-acre refuge was established in 1935 as a "...refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. . ." It lies within the Missouri du Coteau, a glacial moraine created about 10,000 years ago. Virgin prairie with numerous wetlands over every hill creates a feeling for our historical past. A few aspen groves and saline lakes add a sprinkle of diversity that is pleasing to the eye. This habitat diversity attracts a unique variety of native migrant and resident wildlife.

JPG--Avocets and Grassland

Lostwood is a productive waterfowl refuge and a bird watcher's paradise. There are high breeding populations of mallards, gadwalls, blue-winged teal, giant Canada geese, and others. It produces a variety of shorebirds including avocet, upland sandpiper, Wilson's phalarope, and marbled godwit. Bird enthusiasts visit Lostwood especially to see the abundant grasshopper sparrow, Baird's sparrow, and Sprague's pipit. Sedge wren, LeConte's and sharp-tailed sparrows also occur, but are less common. A variety of birds of prey occur: red-tailed and Swainson's hawks, northern harrier, short-eared owl (when meadow mice are abundant), long-eared owl, and great-horned owl. Sharp-tailed grouse are common. There is a good white-tailed deer population, plus a few coyotes, badger, beaver, porcupine, and white-tailed jackrabbits.

Prairie flowers add color to the setting on Lostwood that is hard to beat. Different species bloom about every other week, providing a continuous display of colors. As autumn approaches, the native grasses begin to turn from greens to soft oranges, purples, pinks and tans, along with the more brilliant colors of Juneberry, chokecherry, hawthorn, and aspen. Public activities at Lostwood are wilderness hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, deer hunting, grouse and Hungarian partridge hunting, and a variety of wildlife observation opportunities.

Background Information: The following leaflets are available: Lostwood NWR, self-guided auto tour, birdlist, and refuge map.

Facilities: At refuge headquarters there is a "kiosk" that provides leaflets and general information (Lostwood, a field office, often has no one present). A marked hiking trail and a grouse blind for observing grouse dancing in spring is also available.

Administration and Contact: The refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Lostwood NWR, RR #2 Box 98, Kenmare, ND 58746.

KAREN A. SMITH is manager of Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge in Kenmare, N.D.

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