J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge

North Dakota

(701) 768-2548

Map Directions

Things To Do


J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is located along the Souris River in Bottineau and McHenry Counties of north-central North Dakota. The 58,700-acre Refuge extends from Canada southward for approximately 45 miles. The 36,000 acres of upland habitat include native and introduced grasslands, thick woodlands, shrub thickets, and some cropland. The northern portion of the Refuge is primarily river valley with a narrow band of adjacent upland habitat. The southern portion of the Refuge contains about 16,000 acres of native prairie interspersed with aspen and brush-covered sandhills and 4,200 acres of wooded river bottom. Wetland habitats include deep and shallow marshes within the Souris River flood plain. Five dikes with water control structures have restored 23,000 acres of open water, marsh, and wet meadow habitat for migratory bird production and migration use. While the primary objective of the Refuge is waterfowl production, the area has a very diverse population of other bird species. More than 250 species have been noted including sharp-tailed grouse on their dancing grounds in the spring; Swainson's hawks in great numbers in the fall; a wide variety of waterbirds including five species of nesting grebes; and relatively rare small birds such as Spragues's pipits, Baird's sparrows, and LeConte's sparrows. The Refuge has been designated as a Globally Significant Bird Area and is a regional site in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network.

Map of J. Clark Salyer NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 48.616796, -100.704804



  • Boating

    A unique 13-mile stretch of natural river bottoms rich in beauty, woodlands, and wildlife is open to canoeing. Floaters have the choice of traveling the entire length or a 5½-mile portion. This trail is a designated a National Recreation Trail.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Visitors are in for a treat as they venture along the 22-mile J. Clark Salyer NWR Scenic Tour that includes marshes, wooded river bottoms, and sandhills.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is permitted on 14 public fishing areas in accordance with state fishing seasons and regulations. During a series of wet years, fishing can be excellent for northern pike and walleye. Ice fishing is permitted on all Refuge waters between the dates of December 15 and the end of the state fishing season

  • Hiking

    The Grassland Trail takes you through 5 miles of rolling prairie known as the grassland trail. As you view the wide variety of plant and animal life, you'll also learn about management practices used to restore and maintain native grasslands. As you begin, try to imagine yourself in another place and time when the buffalo roamed freely and the wind-swept grasses stretched as far as the eye could see.

  • Historic Sites

    The Scenic Trail allows visitors a closer look at the plants and animals that inhabit the J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Hunting

    Various portions of the Refuge are open to deer, waterfowl, grouse, partridge, pheasant, wild turkey, and fox hunting in accordance with state seasons and regulations. Contact the Refuge Manager for information on specific areas, yearly dates, and regulations pertaining to hunting on a national wildlife refuge.



The Refuge headquarters is 2 miles north of Upham, North Dakota, and can be reached by turning off U.S. Highway 2 at Towner and proceeding 26 miles north on State Highway 14.

Phone Numbers


(701) 768-2548