Snowshoe through nature at the local wildlife refuge

Submitted Photo Visitors in snowshoes make their way through the trees and snow in the Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge.

The Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. It’s habitat is managed to provide a haven for all wildlife, but while the wildlife do come first, the refuge is open for people visitors.

On Jan. 20, the Friends of the Souris River Loop Refuges will be holding a winter event for visitors to enjoy from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m at the refuge. Snowshoe the Refuge is an event with the goal of getting the word out about what kind of outdoor activities are available on the refuge, and the J Clark Salyer Refuge, for free.

Admission is free and so are the snow shoe rentals, though they are limited and those who own their own are encouraged to bring them.

According to Mitch Thompson, president of the Friends of the Souris River Loop Refuges, says that guests will likely get to see a large variety of tracks from deer, moose, coyotes, beaver, squirrels, mice and various birds.

“We are hoping people are able to learn the basics of snowshoeing, what our local Refuges have to offer, and to appreciate the nature around us,” Thompson said.

The Friends of the Souris River Loop Refuges is a group of volunteers and a local nonprofit who focus on helping with the mission and promotion of the J Clark Salyer and Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuges. They to preserve, restore, and understand the natural habitats of the northern Great Plains.

The J Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge is located along the Souris River in Bottineau and McHenry counties while the Upper Souris is located 30 miles NW of Minot. Both were established in 1935 with the goals of preserving the natural area for wildlife.

The event is family friendly and will have youth snowshoes. Since there are a limited number, RSVPing is recommended, but not necessary. For more information or questions, email