Camas National Refuge

An owl in a tree at Camas National Refuge

Camas National Wildlife Refuge is a critical stop for migratory birds needing to rest and refuel along our nation’s flyways.

In early spring, bird watchers flock to the ponds for a flying blizzard of white feathers as the graceful migration pattern of snow geese dots the crystal blue sky. Adding to the sensory overload are elegant tundra and trumpeter swans, moose and porcupine. “This is a marvelous therapeutic antidote to MSNBC,” says Nancy Maxwell, Portneuf Valley Audubon Society member. “I think birds are fascinating. Always have. If you find the right environment, you don’t have to find them. You can wait for them to find you.”

The generosity of volunteers is critical to refuges like Camas. Nationwide, more than 30,000 volunteers donate more than a million hours a year helping the refuge system. “I feel like the one thing I have now that I’m Two people birdwatching with binoculars in the winterretired is time,” says Sharon Dollar, Camas refuge volunteer. “I’d like to give a little bit of that time to make sure my grandchildren can also come here and enjoy things.”

Another critical component of refuge management is water. Water levels require intense watch from spring through fall to ensure nests of resident birds are not flooded. “Water is everything. Its so important to the resource,” says Rob Larrañaga, former Camas refuge manager. “It’s the life and blood of this refuge and we may have to rethink the way we do some things.”

Camas NWR is adopted by members of the Portneuf Valley Audubon Society.