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Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge
IUCN Category IV (Habitat/Species Management Area)
Location Lake County, Oregon, United States
Nearest city Lakeview
Coordinates 42°21′16″N 119°22′54″W / 42.35448°N 119.38156°W / 42.35448; -119.38156Coordinates: 42°21′16″N 119°22′54″W / 42.35448°N 119.38156°W / 42.35448; -119.38156
Area 278,000 acres (1,130 km2)
Established 1936
Governing body United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge

Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge is a U.S. National Wildlife Refuge on Hart Mountain in southeastern Oregon, United States which protects more than 430 square miles (1125 km²) containing more than 300 species of wildlife, including pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, mule deer, sage grouse, and redband trout. The refuge spans habitats ranging from high desert to shallow playa lakes, and is among the largest wildlife habitats containing no domestic livestock.[1]

Contents

Recreational activities

  • Wildlife photography and observation are the most popular refuge activities. There are permanent blinds throughout the refuge.
  • Hiking is encouraged, but trails are not maintained, though most of the terrain permits cross-country hiking.
  • Backpacking is the only way to experience remote parts of the refuge.
  • Camping is free, but there are no reservations, and a 14 day limit. Generators and power equipment are prohibited.
  • Bicycling is limited to roads open to motor vehicles, but the rough roads require sturdy bikes.
  • Fishing is allowed in a few locations, with an Oregon fishing license.
  • Hunting is permitted for a very limited number of deer, pronghorn and bighorn sheep.
  • Rock collecting is limited seven pounds per day, surface objects only—without digging nor blasting. The nearby BLM Sunstone mine contains Oregon gemstone.

Logistics

None of the refuge's roads are paved, and most are not passable by passenger autos. A few roads are graded, but most are dirt ruts ("jeep trails"). No services of any kind are available within the refuge, except compressed air, potable water, and a restroom at the refuge's headquarters.[2]

The nearest fuel and grocery is in Plush 25 miles west, and Frenchglen 50 miles east. Lakeview is the nearest city (65 miles southwest) with basic services such as vehicle repair, lodging, and medical care.[2] The Frenchglen Hotel though has very comfortable accommodations and excellent dinners.

Hart Mountain NAR general reference map

Wildlife

The diverse habitat supports diverse wildlife: There are 239 bird species, 42 species of mammal, and at least eight species of reptile, including rattlesnake, bull Snake, Eastern Yellowbelly Racer, and various lizards.[3]

Residents active year round include deer, bobcat, coyote, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, marmot, squirrel, and rabbit. Most birds are seasonal. Golden eagle, sandhill crane, colorful Sage Grouse, and numerous migratory species.[3]

The pronghorn—North America's fastest land animal at 45 mph (72 km/h)—run free across the upland sagebrush at the east side. Bighorn sheep prefer the rocky cliffs of the refuge's west side. Numerous shallow lakes, grassy spring fed meadows attract the greatest variety of species.[3]

Bighorn sheep were eliminated by disease and hunting in this area by 1915. Reintroduction began in 1954 from British Columbia stock. There are now approximately 300 bighorn sheep.[3]

See also

References

External links

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