Created for Dusky Canada Geese, this refuge has expansive wetlands, fields, and oak savanna and woodland. Trails, pullouts, observation platforms and overlooks provide excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Along with Dusky Canada Goose, other subspecies of Canada Goose and Cackling Goose graze the fields as large flocks in winter, when Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, and Rough-legged Hawk hunt over the fields. The fields are among the best places in the Willamette Valley to see Streaked Horned Lark, as well as American Pipit and (rarely) Lapland Longspur. Wetlands host wintering waterfowl, swans, Great Egret, Bald Eagle, and Peregrine Falcon, with Gyrfalcon and Golden Eagle in some winters. In spring look for Cinnamon Teal and American White Pelican along Coville Rd., or walk dike road S of the Baskett Butte trailhead to see nesting Yellow-headed Blackbird and Wilson?s Phalarope. The north end of the refuge has become a reliable place to see White-tailed Kite and Northern Shrike. The Morgan Lake access (intersection of Smithfield & Livermore Rds) is a good spring and late-summer shorebird spot. The oak woodland and savanna of Baskett Butte hosts Western Wood-Pewee, Hutton?s Vireo, White-breasted Nuthatch, Black-throated Gray and Orange-crowned Warblers, and Lazuli Bunting. Baskett Butte holds the largest remaining population of the endangered Fender?s blue butterfly and its host plant, the Kincaid?s lupine, as well as other rare upland prairie flowers. Interior roads and wetland areas are closed Oct 1 ? March. Baskett Butte trail and several viewing areas are open year round. Restroom facilities are provided at Baskett Butte trailhead.
From Salem go W on Hwy 22 for 12 mi to signed overlook with viewing kiosk on N side of Hwy (GPS 44 57.127 N, 123 16.157 W). Coville Rd and Baskett access: From overlook continue W on Hwy 22 for 1 mi. Turn R on Smithfield Rd and immediately turn R again, onto Coville Rd. View wetlands from pullouts along Coville Rd or continue E for 1 mi to Baskett Butte trailhead. Morgan Lake access: From overlook continue W on Hwy 22 for 1 mi. Turn R on Smithfield Rd, which zigzags N & E for 1mi, then turns N for 1.2 mi before turning E. Continue E 0.5 mi to gravel parking lot on S side of intersection with Livermore Rd.