The Visitor Center at the refuge headquarters features displays of local history and native wildlife. E.H. Gross photos and mounts of wildlife common to the area are some of the displays. Hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The refuge headquarters is located directly across the lake from downtown Kenmare and can be reached by calling 701-385-4046.
Des Lacs Refuge
Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 19,544 acres and is one of several National Wildlife Refuges in the area managed mainly for migrating birds by the US Fish and Wildlife Services. It takes in 28 miles of the Des Lacs River Valley and contains extensive marshes, 3 natural lakes, and adjacent prairie and woodland habitats.
The Des Lacs Refuge is unique in its availability to the public. Its proximity to Highway 52 offers an excellent opportunity to observe, study, and photograph such birds as canvasbacks, marbled godwits, white pelicans, western grebes, and nearly 300 other species of birds. A photography blind located on a sharp-tailed grouse dancing ground provides excellent opportunities to observe and photograph the prairie grouse during their spring dancing activities.
Great opportunities exist for viewing wildlife in marshes and lakes along the 7-mile scenic road that parallels the refuge south of Kenmare. A spur of this road, "The Brickyard Hill Road", crosses the refuge and winds its way to the bluff tops, on the west side of the river valley, offering a bird's eye view of the Des Lacs Valley. The Refuge can be contacted by calling 701-385-4046.
Upper Souris Refuge
The Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge, located 34 miles east of Kenmare, furnishes a striking, panoramic view of the river valley. This can be seen from an auto trail that rides the crest of hills west of an earth dam. The earthen dam separates valley marshlands from the lake formed behind the dam. Named after the famed conservationist and cartoonist J.N. "Ding" Darling, Lake Darling is a favorite fishing ground for North Dakotans. Canoe trails are open to the public above and below the dam giving canoeists an intimate view of Souris River habitats and marsh wildlife. The Refuge can be contacted by calling 701-468-5467.
Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge, 20 miles west of Kenmare, is perhaps the best example of mixed grass prairie pothole land remaining in the US. The rolling hills and numerous wetlands of this 26,900-acre refuge were sculpted by the Wisconsin Glacier. Lostwood is one of the best places to find unique prairie birds such as Baird's sparrow, Sprague's pipit, and sharp-tailed grouse. A sharp-tailed grouse dancing ground blind is available along with hiking and vehicle trails. The 5,577-acre Lostwood Wilderness area, part of the Lostwood Refuge, is open for birding, hiking, and photography year round, including cross country skiing and snowshoeing during winter. The Refuge can be contacted by calling 701-848-2722.