Description - Baskett Slough NWR is the most northerly of the three Willamette Valley refuges. Dusky Canada geese usually appear here first in the fall and use the refuge as their last stop before starting the spring journey back to their Alaska nesting grounds. The Willamette Valley was once a rich mix of wildlife habitats. Valley wetlands were once extensive, with meandering stream channels and vast seasonal marshes. Today, the valley is a mix of farmland and growing cities, with fewer areas remaining for wildlife.
Baskett Slough NWR's was created to provide vital wintering habitat for dusky Canada geese. Unlike other Canada geese, duskies have limited summer and winter ranges. They nest on Alaska's Copper River Delta and winter almost exclusively in the Willamette Valley. Habitat loss, predation, and hunting have caused a decrease in population.
- The refuge's irrigated farmed fields, rolling oak-covered hills, grass fields, and shallow wetlands are home to many wildlife species.
Several species of waterfowl, herons, hawks, quail, shorebirds, woodpeckers, and a variety of neotropical birds also frequent the area. A small number of bald eagles winter on the refuge and can often be seen harassing wintering waterfowl. Other wildlife includes 30 species of mammals, 8 species of amphibians, and 10 species of reptiles. The largest remaining population of Fender's blue butterfly is found on the refuge.
Named after George J. Baskett, an early breeder of valley thoroughbred horses, the refuge offers opportunities for compatible wildlife-oriented education and recreation.
Recreation - Visitors of Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge can enjoy environmental education, fishing, hunting, interpretation, photography and wildlife observation.
Climate - Climate in the Willamette Valley changes with elevation. The area receives a high amount of precipitation. Much of the precipitation comes from October to April in the form of rain at the low elevations and as wet heavy snow in the higher elevations. Winter temperatures are normally cool at the lower elevations and cold at the higher elevations. Although snow is possible in the lowest elevations, it is infrequent and does not stay on the ground for long. Late spring, summer and early autumn bring the best chance for clear, sunny days and bring moderate temperatures.
Baskett Slough National Wildlife Rifuge is located in the Willamette Valley just west of Salem. On Interstate 5, take exit 253, and proceed west through Salem, toward Dallas, Oregon. Travel west on Highway 22 from the intersection of Highways 22 and 99W, north of Rickreall, Oregon. Proceed about 2 miles and watch for the information and wildlife viewing area on the right.