Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge

Fish and Wildlife Service, Kansas.

Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge was the 229th national wildlife refuge established and the first in Kansas. In 1954, Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge was created as an overlay project on a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) irrigation and flood control reservoir. Refuge staff manage activities on the land and water. Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge is located in the rolling hills and narrow valley of the North Fork of the Solomon River in north-central Kansas. On the ancestral homelands of the Pawnee (Pâri), the Refuge lies in an area where the tall-grass prairies of the east meet the short-grass plains of the west. As a result, a diversity of wildlife, grasses, and wildflowers from both prairie types are found on the Refuge. The Refuge consists of 10,778 acres and includes prairie grasslands, open water, shoreline, wetlands, and wooded areas found along the banks of the lake, rivers and streams. The reservoir is fed by the North Fork of the Solomon River and Bow Creek. Both are intermittent streams which means they may dry up in periods of low precipitation. The reservoir water levels fluctuate tremendously from year to year, depending upon rain, snow runoff, and irrigation use.

Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge is known for the return of migrating birds and bird courtship rituals in the spring and fall migration of thousands of migrating birds.  The Refuge is in the Central Flyway, a major travel way for migratory birds, including the endangered whooping crane. Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge is also home to many wildflowers, plants, fish, and wildlife species that live here all year round.

Nearby Activities


The Refuge visitor center is located 6 miles east of Glade, Kansas, on State Highway 9 and 1 mile south on 700 Road.

Additional Information