- The refuge contains a wide diversity of habitats with the unique salt flats giving the refuge its name. The refuge has been designated as a National Natural Landmark and a Western Hemisphere Reserve Shorebird Network site of Regional Importance.
The refuge is a major migration and wintering area for 75,000 lesser Canada geese, 40,000 sandhill cranes and 30,000 ducks. Whooping cranes use the area during migration. The largest breeding concentration of interior least terns in Oklahoma is found here. Bald eagles numbering up to 150 have been observed during winter months.
It is the only known nesting area for whitefaced ibis in Oklahoma and also has the largest cattle egret rookery found in Oklahoma. Over 300 species of birds and 30 mammals can be found on the refuge.
Habitat management consists of farming, moist soil manipulation, grazing and prescribed burning.
Selenite crystals with hourglass sand inclusion are found nowhere else in the world and are sought annually by thousands of visitors. The refuge has a 1/1/4 mile nature trail,a 3/8 mile birdwatching trail for shorebirds, a 2.5 mile auto-tour route and a fishing pond exclusively for children and physically-challenged individuals of all ages.
A reservoir and several streams are open to fishing. The refuge maintains a primitive campground. A public hunting area has been established for the hnunting of migratory and upland gamebirds. A controlled hunt is conducted annually for whitetailed deer.
Salt Plains NWR is located in Alfalfa County, Oklahoma approximately 15 miles south of the Kansas border.