• Hailstone National Wildlife Refuge

Hailstone National Wildlife Refuge


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General info

Hailstone National Wildlife Refuge is one of four satellite national wildlife refuges in central Montana that are part of the Charles M. Russell Complex. Satellite refuges are unstaffed national wildlife refuges that have been established by the Executive Order.

Hailstone NWR is a 920-acre refuge that was initially established as an easement refuge in 1942 to provide a rest stop and breeding ground for migratory waterfowl. In 1980, the Service purchased this Refuge. Hailstone Lake is a natural basin that was enhanced to 300 acres in the 1930s under the Works Project Administration. Over the years heavy metals and salts accumulated in the reservoir and surrounding soil due to natural evaporation. In 2011, the earthen dam was removed to once again create a flow-through system.

Greasewood grows in the saline soils whereas native grasses flourish on the less saline soils. Wildlife species include waterfowl, pronghorn, and prairie dogs. Many other small mammals exist along with horned lizards (often referred to as horned toads), and rattlesnakes. The refuge is open to hunting migratory game birds, upland game birds, and the big game as well as hiking and wildlife observation.

Hailstone NWR is managed by the staff of Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in Lewistown, MT, and is one of over 550 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System - a network of public lands administered. Sd by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service set aside to conserve wildlife and habitat for people today and generations to come.


To access Hailstone NWR, drive 4 miles east of Rapelje, MT to the Hailstone Basin Road. Turn north on this road and continue 1.5 miles to the refuge entrance. A two-track trail crosses the Refuge from southeast to northwest. Visitors are required to park immediately adjacent to the road.

Copied from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Brochure

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