Prime birding spot, Ninepipe Wildlife Refuge reopens Jan. 8 in Pablo.
Bring your camera and binoculars!
From the Refuge website:
Located in the Mission Valley of northwestern Montana,
Ninepipe and Pablo National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) were
each established in 1921 “as a refuge and breeding ground for
native birds.” These Refuges, located on Tribal land within the
Flathead Indian Reservation, are part of the National Wildlife
Refuge System – a network of lands set aside specifically
for wildlife. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(Service), the Refuge System is a living heritage, preserving
wildlife and habitat for people today and generations to come.
The Service works with neighboring land managers, the
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) and the
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MTFWP), to manage these
Refuges as part of a larger wetland and upland vegetation
The rolling terrain and interspersed small wetlands of the
Mission Valley were created by pre-historic glacial activity.
These wetlands are called kettles, and were formed from
melting glacial ice and are of enormous value to many wildlife
species. Within this rich and productive environment, these
Refuges provide unique benefits to wildlife by being among
the few places in the valley where wildlife protection and
conservation are the driving priorities.
Ninepipe and Pablo NWRs support an abundance of species
and offer remarkable birding opportunities. Enjoy a walk on a
short interpretive trail at Ninepipe NWR (see map) and learn
about Refuge habitats and the animals that live there. With the
Mission Mountains to the east providing a dramatic backdrop,
look for flocks of trumpeter swans, great blue heron rookeries,
bald eagle and osprey nests, Forster’s tern colonies, snowy owls
in the winter, and much more.
Please take advantage of the outstanding opportunities
available for wildlife observation, photography, fishing, and
environmental education. Hiking, biking, cross-country skiing,
and snowshoeing are also permitted on these Refuges, but
please be mindful of regulations and closed areas, and comply
with all posted signs.
Visit our website for current updates and more detailed
To help protect wildlife and wildlife habitat
and ensure your safety, we ask that you please
follow the regulations listed in this leaflet.
■Ninepipe and Pablo NWRs are open to public use from
sunrise to sunset, except during seasonal closures.
■Pets must be on a leash and under control at all times.
■Use of boats, float tubes, and any other floatation device is
■Leaving or dumping litter, any dead animal, or fish
or fish entrails on Refuge land is prohibited.
■Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on
National Wildlife Refuge System lands must comply with
all provisions of State and local law. Persons may only use
(discharge) firearms in accordance with Refuge regulations (50
CFR 27.42 and specific Refuge regulations in 50 CFR Part 32).
■Fireworks are prohibited.
■Collection or disturbance of natural objects, such as,
plants, animals, feathers, antlers, or rocks and minerals
is not permitted without a special use permit. Call
the Refuge headquarters for more information.
■Fires are prohibited.
■Off-road travel (including vehicle travel on ice)
is not permitted.
■Possession or consumption of alcohol by persons under
21 years is prohibited.
■Possession of a controlled substance is prohibited
(50 CFR 27.82).
■Drug paraphernalia, including any instrument that facilitates
the consumption of a controlled substance, is prohibited.
Closures and access limitations are necessary for visitor safety
and to protect nesting birds. See the reverse side of this sheet
for further information about when and where area closures will
■Ninepipe and Pablo NWRs are CLOSED to ALL hunting and
trapping, by both members and non-members of the CSKT.
■Both Refuges are closed to ALL public use during waterfowl
■Be aware there may be special closures due to low water, or
other unforeseen events.
■Certain areas on each Refuge are designated as closed during
breeding seasons to allow birds to nest and rest.
■Off-shore islands are closed to public use at all times in order
to limit disturbance to migratory birds.
This blue goose, designed by J.N.
“Ding” Darling, is the symbol of the
National Wildlife Refuge System.
Hunting on Lands Adjacent to the Refuges
■For hunting on lands adjacent to Refuge land, consult the
Flathead Indian Reservation Fishing, Bird Hunting, and
Recreation Regulations of the CSKT and the MTFWP. Obtain
a copy of the Regulations or more information by contacting
the Tribal Fish and Game staff at 406 / 883 2888 or MTFWP
staff at 406 / 752 5501.
■If you hunt on land adjacent to Refuge land, plan your shots
to ensure that game does not fall within Refuge boundaries.
If your game does fall within the boundary, you must contact
Refuge law enforcement staff at 406 / 883 7301, before
Fishing on Refuge Land
Fishing is permitted on both Refuges in accordance with the
Flathead Indian Reservation Fishing, Bird Hunting, and
Recreation Regulations of the CSKT and the MTFWP.
■All anglers must have in their immediate possession a
Flathead Reservation Use and Conservation Permit with
a Flathead Reservation Fishing Stamp or CSKT Tribal
Identification Card. Permit vendors are listed in the
■Upon the request of a law enforcement officer, an angler
must show the required Flathead Reservation Use and
Conservation Permit with a Flathead Reservation Fishing
Stamp or CSKT Tribal Identification Card.
■Daily bag and possession limits, licensing requirements, and
general information are found in the Flathead Indian
Reservation Fishing, Bird Hunting, and Recreation
■The use of lead or lead-based lures or sinkers is prohibited.
■The Ninepipe Family Fishing Pond is located on MTFWP
land west of Highway 93, adjacent to Ninepipe NWR. This
pond is open to anglers of all ages, but those who are 15 years
and older must release any fish caught.
Equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from programs
and activities of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is available
to all individuals regardless of physical or mental ability. Dial
711 for a free connection to the State relay service for TTY and
voice calls to and from the speech and hearing impaired. For
information or to address accessibility needs, please contact
the Refuge staff at 406 / 644 2211.