Chase Lake Wilderness

Fish and Wildlife Service, North Dakota.

The Chase Lake Wilderness now contains a total of 4,155 acres and is managed by the Fish & Wildlife Service's Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge. All of the Wilderness is in the state of North Dakota. In 1975 the Chase Lake Wilderness became part of the now over 110 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System.

If you were to tally up all of the white pelicans that nest on two islands in this isolated alkali lake, you'd find more than 20,000, one of the largest colonies in North America. That figure is all the more impressive (and heartening) when you consider that only 50 birds inhabited the region when the area was officially slated for protection in 1908. Birders may observe these creatures from a rise near the lake, but the islands themselves are strictly off-limits. In addition to pelicans, you may encounter ducks, geese, swans, sharp-tailed grouse, ring-necked pheasants, gulls, cormorants, white-tailed deer, and many smaller mammals. Facilities are not available on site, and camping is not permitted. Of the 4,385 acres of Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge, 230 (separated from the rest of the refuge by a powerline) were not designated as Wilderness. The lake itself takes up more than half of the area; the remaining acreage is grassland and wetland with very few trees.

Nearby Activities


Chase Lake Wilderness is managed out of the Chase Lake Prairie Project Office located on Woodworth Station Waterfowl Production Area at 5924 19th St SE, just three miles east of Woodworth, North Dakota. Visitors access the refuge via Chase Lake Pass. Access Roads are either graveled or prairie trail and visitors must maintain the posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour. Parking is allowed in designated parking areas only. No overnight parking is allowed on the refuge.

Additional Information

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