Fish and Wildlife Service, North Dakota.
Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is found in a 28-mile long river valley with three natural lakes. The northern boundary of the Refuge is at the Canadian border. The Refuge was established during the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s. The original Refuge facilities were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to benefit waterfowl production and protection. "Des lacs" is French for "of the lakes." Early trappers originally called this area "riviere des lacs," literally, "river of the lakes," which aptly describes its prominent features. Uplands include gently rolling Drift Plains as well as steep slopes that drop 50-125 feet to the river valley, with numerous wooded draws and coulees that drain the Drift Plain. The upland vegetation is characterized as mixed-grass prairie. Des Lacs NWR is well known for spectacular snow goose populations of 200,000 to 300,000 geese in the fall. The local community of Kenmare hosts the annual "Goosefest" in October to celebrate the fall migration.
The Des Lacs NWR headquarters is located 1 mile west of Kenmare, North Dakota, off Ward County Road 1. A large entrance sign is situated at the junction of County Roads 1 and 1A. Kenmare is located 50 miles northwest of Minot on U.S. Highway 52.