A New Look for Malheur


Written by Carey Goss, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Specialist/Photos by USFWS

On your next visit to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, you can expect to be welcomed with new interpretation and directional signs.

For the past several years, the Refuge has been working diligently on improving an integrated set of orientation features for visitors to easily find accurate, timely and appropriate information and feel welcomed. We want our visitors to not only be aware of their options for safely pursuing self-guided activities, but to feel welcomed. This effort consists primarily of new trailhead and interpretive signs aimed at providing enhanced wildlife observation, photography opportunities and interpretive opportunities while connecting visitors with historic and natural resources. 

At the beginning of your trip to Malheur, stop at the Narrows Pullout along Highway 205. New interpretive panels have been installed and the information therein will serve as a gateway for your experience at the Refuge. We suggest visiting Refuge headquarters afterwards, which will be a good starting point for your visit. The Visitor Center, Nature Center & Store, along with the George Benson Natural History Museum, are located at the Refuge headquarters. Knowledgeable volunteers and staff will be available to provide information and answer any questions. Headquarters also has new interpretive panels at the Malheur Lake Overlook and Marshall Pond Trail. 

As you begin to explore the Refuge, you will notice new welcome and orientation panels at all entrance points. Each entrance will have the basic information for visitors to be aware of their options for self-guided activities with a little story of what you may experience in that section of the Refuge. 

Whether you travel along Hwy 205 or the Blitzen Valley Auto Tour route you will find yourself at the Buena Vista Overlook. This is a must-stop after experiencing the landscape and solitude of the northern half of the Refuge. The interpretive panels have been updated and you will find one of our new trailhead signs at the base and the top of the overlook. These new trailhead signs are located at each of our trailheads. 

If you haven’t visited Krumbo Reservoir, south of Buena Vista Overlook, we suggest you do. The reservoir may be off the beaten path, but provides an opportunity to view some seasonal ponds and one of the deepest water sources on the Refuge. You will be welcomed with trailhead signs along the way to the reservoir and at the reservoir and beautiful viewing areas. 

Once you have made it to the southern tip of the Refuge, please stop at the historic P Ranch. At the parking area, you will be welcomed with new interpretive panels, trailhead signs and sitting areas. A portion of the P Ranch area is also one of the locations where angling is permitted including Krumbo Reservoir and East Canal. East Canal is another stop we encourage visitors to check out.

East Canal is located near Page Springs Campground and provides visitors an option to walk the route or drive. At the entrance of East Canal, there will be information to help guide you. 

Now that your trip is close to being over, don’t forget to stop at the Frenchglen Wayside across from the Frenchglen Hotel. New interpretive panels will highlight areas near the Refuge that you can explore and an entrance to the Barnes Springs Footpath. If you happen to visit in the late summer or fall, please make a stop at the historic Sod House Ranch (open August 15 – October 15). Sod House Ranch provides an opportunity to take a step back into time. If volunteers are not available to provide a guided tour, you will have new interpretive panels to share the story of the past. 

Malheur is a wonderful place for visitors and with the new interpretation and directional signs we hope you leave the Refuge with a memorable experience that fosters a connection between yourself and nature, and with an appreciation of the Refuge’s unique resources. 

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